Who is Involved in Animal Ethics and Care in Canada?

The CCAC is the organization responsible for advancing animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada. The CCAC both develops and maintains high standards of animal ethics and care, and oversees their implementation by assessing institutions working with animals for scientific purposes and providing certification to those that meet these high standards.

The CCAC does this by working with a vast and diverse community, including thousands of animal care committee members, animal health professionals, community representatives, educators, researchers, and volunteer experts.

Animal Health Professionals

A woman wearing a mask and gloves, holding a chicken

In each CCAC-certified institution, veterinarians and animal health technicians work alongside researchers and educators, attending to the animals on a daily basis.

These individuals are dedicated to ensuring that the animals are properly cared for, fed, housed, and are well-monitored.

Animal Care Committee Members

A group of people collaborating in a meeting

Each CCAC-certified institution has at least one local animal care committee responsible for overseeing all aspects of animal ethics and care at the institution and for working with those involved in animal-based science (including animal care personnel, graduate students, institutional administration, post-doctoral fellows, representatives from the local community, and researchers) to ensure the ethical treatment of the animals.

They must also ensure that every reasonable safeguard is in place to minimize any potential pain and discomfort, and must act as a strong and visible advocate for the ethical care of the animals under their protection.

Volunteer Experts

A male scientist crouching in a field, surrounded by herd of cows

Hundreds of volunteer experts contribute their knowledge and skills to the CCAC’s mission every year.

Animal health technicians, members of the public, scientists, and veterinarians contribute to the development of guidelines and policies, advancing high standards of care for animals in Canadian science.

Teams of volunteer experts also visit certified institutions to ensure they are in line with CCAC standards. These teams include representatives from the local community, scientists, and veterinarians, all specialized in the types of animals held in a specific institution.

Researchers and Educators

Individuals studying animals for scientific purposes can be wildlife researchers (e.g., biologists, conservationists, zoologists), health researchers (e.g., biochemists, geneticists, physiologists), clinician researchers (e.g., oncologists, cardiologists, immunologists, veterinarians) and graduate students – just to name a few.

Across the country, these individuals engage in animal-based studies in accordance with standards and best practices set forth by the CCAC and must be competent and adequately trained in the principles of animal ethics and care.

A man touching the nose of a whale in the ocean Two scientists examining a test tube

Animal welfare is also a priority for researchers and educators, as the physical and psychological well-being of animals is proven to support better quality data because it minimizes variables that could compromise the quality of the science being conducted. It is therefore in the interest of researchers to approach their subjects with respect, mindfully avoiding any unnecessary pain or distress.