Animal Data

A male and female scientist examining a cow.

As part of its accountability to the Canadian public and commitment to transparency, the CCAC publishes annual animal data from CCAC-certified institutions. These annual animal data reports are readily accessible to all Canadians.

The annual collection, synthesis, and analysis of animal data from CCAC-certified institutions serve two critical roles in that the data provide greater insight into animal-based science, and help the CCAC track national trends and allocate resources to areas where there is the potential for pain and distress.

To make this process as efficient as possible, the CCAC provides helpful resources, including reporting instructions and forms. We acknowledge all those responsible for compiling and submitting their institutional data every year.

Upcoming Changes to Animal Data Collection and Reporting

The Animal Data Working Group was appointed by the CCAC Board of Directors in 2016 to review the current animal data collection and reporting process, and recommend improvements to all parts of the system. The working group came up with nineteen recommendations. These recommendations are the result of two years of thoughtful deliberations, which included incorporating feedback from a broad range of CCAC stakeholders.

Following the completion of the mandate of the Animal Data Working Group in 2018, the CCAC Board of Directors has since accepted and approved their recommendations for further improving the data collections and reporting process. The CCAC Secretariat is now working on implementing the changes, including creating a new data submission template and associated instructions document. Some of the approved changes are being applied to other CCAC guidelines, policies, and FAQs. However, most changes relate to what information needs to be collected by institutions and how it should be reported to the CCAC. Once the implementation process has been finalized by the Secretariat, institutions will be given ample time to update their own processes to meet the new reporting requirements.

Recommendations For Animal Data Collection Reporting

The approved recommendations, broken down into four broad categories, are:

  1. Recommendations on the Process for Collecting Animal Data from CCAC Institutions
    • 1.1: That data collection and reporting continue on an annual basis
    • 1.2: That the timing of reporting, within an institution in preparation for collating institutional data for the AUDF, be changed to ‘as a protocol expires or is renewed’
    • 1.3: That in the case of cross-institutional collaborations, every animal should be counted, but only once
  2. Recommendations on Data to be Collected and Reported
    • 2.1: That all animals produced or held in a breeding colony or herd be reported, and that offspring are counted at a pre-established, species-appropriate time
    • 2.2: That reuse be redefined to mean ‘animals that are carried over from a previous year’
    • 2.3: That each animal’s ‘place of residence’ (i.e. onsite, offsite, in the wild) be identified in the annual report
    • 2.4: That international animals continue to be counted and be reported distinctly
    • 2.5: That wildlife continues to be reported by genus and species when possible (and always for species at risk). In cases where this is not possible, a higher level taxonomic classification can be used (e.g., genus only)
    • 2.6: That the fate of animals after their involvement in a research, teaching, or testing protocol be denoted
    • 2.7: That the experience of the animals be used as a focal category in the report, and that this be supplemented with information about the associated procedures recognizing that there could be variable impacts of specific procedures on particular animals
    • 2.8: That the category of invasiveness be reported retrospectively
    • 2.9: That when different animals experience different levels of pain and distress within a single protocol, this information be captured by reporting as many categories of invasiveness as are appropriate. For institutions currently without this capability, that they be encouraged to implement it when updating their software
    • 2.10: That the reported level of invasiveness should reflect cumulative pain and distress
    • 2.11: That the source of animals be reported under the following labels: born in captivity for the purposes of research, teaching, or testing; wild animals; other; reused; and possibly ‘uncertain’
  3. Recommendations on Additional Information to be Included in the Annual Report
    • 3.1: That in the annual animal data reports, trend analyses are provided accompanied by brief explanations which help readers understand the data within context
    • 3.2: That the number and types of institutions be reported in the annual animal data report
    • 3.3: That the purpose of animal use categories be updated to include distinct categories specifically for human health, veterinary medicine, environmental biology, fundamental biology, food production, and ‘other’
  4. Recommendations for the CCAC Secretariat to Facilitate an Updated Data Collection Process
    • 4.1: That the CCAC perform an annual scan of international animal data reports, identifying significant new developments, and evaluating whether or not those new practices should be emulated in Canada
    • 4.2: That the CCAC consult with stakeholders periodically in order to ensure that the annual animal data report continues to serve their needs