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October 8, 2020

Response to the CCAC’s Animal Use Data Instructions Document

Recently, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) put out a call for the public review of the draft Instructions for Completion of the CCAC Animal Use Data Form. The CCAC is grateful to all the institutions and individuals who took the time to provide feedback. The public review process is an integral step in the development of all CCAC documents, and plays a key role in ensuring we meet the needs of our stakeholders.

Following the public review, the CCAC was made aware of concerns expressed by institutions in relation to the proposed changes to the collection and submission of animal use data. In particular, these concerns include: the potential costs of adjusting current protocol management software; retrospective reporting; the schedule for the implementation of the instructions document in relation to other guidelines currently in development by the CCAC; and the timing of the document given institutions are dealing with challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These concerns were brought to the attention of CCAC Board of Directors and a plan to collaborate with institutions to address these concerns is being developed.

The CCAC is committed to working with institutions to implement an animal use data system that is both achievable and addresses the recommendations made by the Animal Data Working Group. In doing so, we will:

  • reach out to institutions in the coming months to include them in a consultation process that seeks to better understand the complexities and challenges of institutional data collection;
  • take a staged approach towards completion of the CCAC guidelines on animal welfare assessment, categories of welfare impact, and endpoints so that any changes, if required by those guidelines, can be suitably planned and timed to line up animal data collection requirements (these guidelines documents are designed to support institutions in focusing on the welfare of the animals used in science, and to support the changes to the collection of animal data); and
  • delay the implementation of the revised animal use data system until the challenges noted above have been resolved.

We will continue to work with our institutions to ensure continued public trust in animal-based science, and to better the understanding of the manner in which animals are used to improve the health and well-being of Canadians. We look forward to a continued collaboration to ensure a robust animal data handling and reporting system that is manageable for institutions, supports decision making for the CCAC, and improves public accountability. The CCAC will communicate with institutions to inform them of the actions taken to address their concerns.

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