Recipient of the 2021 Harry C. Rowsell Award

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Andy Fletch (retired, McMaster University) and Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark (veterinarian, Dalhousie University) are this year's winners of the Harry C. Rowsell Award for Outstanding Service to the CCAC.

Dr. Andrew Fletch

Dr. Andrew Fletch entered the field of laboratory animal science as one of the first university veterinarians in Canada, at the University of Toronto, then worked for a private laboratory and, finally, McMaster University. A former chair and member of the CCAC Council, Dr. Fletch has made a lasting impact through his volunteer work creating, assessing, and supporting the CCAC’s programs, and by ensuring that the highest standards of ethical animal care are valued and assured in all animal-based science conducted throughout Canada.

A student of the late Dr. Harry Rowsell, Dr. Fletch was captivated by Dr. Rowsell’s perspective on the welfare of laboratory animals. As a result, Dr. Fletch became a strong proponent of the CCAC and served on numerous assessment panels and CCAC committees throughout his career. He also volunteered on Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) audit committees, biosafety committees, and animal care committees. He parlayed this experience into helping institutions across Canada improve the health and welfare of laboratory animals. CCAC program participants relied on Dr. Fletch for his expertise and constructive advice, and found him easy to approach thanks to his open, positive, and humble demeanour.

Dr. Fletch believed that the best way to improve the ethical care and use of animals in science was through continued education and training, not only of veterinarians, but of animal technicians, animal care committee members, facility staff and managers, and scientists. He also helped educate students in the community by giving presentations in area schools. Similar to his mentor Dr. Rowsell, Dr. Fletch was a mentor to many.

Dr. Christopher Harvey-Clark

Dr. Christopher Harvey-Clark has spent the last 35 years of his varied career as a veterinarian, senior administrator, and animal welfare advocate. Driven by the belief that good animal welfare leads to good science, he has made invaluable contributions to the ethical care and use of animals in science through the development of programs for large, multidisciplinary teams, spearheading the construction of new research spaces, the clinical management of a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic species, and the promotion of science and natural history in the community as a writer, speaker, and documentary film creator. He also contributed to the development of the CCAC’s guidelines on fish and has participated on dozens of assessment panels over the years.

In 1994, Dr. Harvey-Clark was recruited as the Director of Animal Care at Dalhousie University, with the challenge of turning around the institution’s probationary compliance status, which his team accomplished in only four years. He also initiated active investigator training programs and ongoing professional development for the University’s technical staff and graduate students. Between 2004 and 2013, Dr. Harvey-Clark was engaged by the University of British Columbia where he worked with a multi-disciplinary team to reform its animal care and use program from probationary compliance to a fully accredited, state-of-the-art program. In 2013, Dr. Harvey-Clark returned to Dalhousie University to help create a three-campus animal care program and dedicate himself to marine and welfare research activities.

Dr. Harvey-Clark has authored 36 papers, book chapters, and books, and has made presentations on a myriad of topics related to animal welfare in science. Of particular interest are marine environmental issues, and he has written, filmed, and hosted documentaries for Discovery Channel, BBC, National Film Board of Canada, History Channel, and National Geographic on marine conservation topics and marine mammals. Over the years, Dr. Harvey-Clark’s deep passion for animals, and his dedication to their humane treatment, has made a lasting impact on the CCAC and the welfare of animals in science.

The CCAC relies on hundreds of dedicated volunteers every year to effectively and collaboratively contribute to animal ethics and care, and to carry out its mandate. We are deeply grateful for these individuals, and would like to thank both the nominees and the nominators for this year’s award for highlighting some of these outstanding individuals.