Which Animal Types Were Used in Science?
In 2020, 14530 animals were involved in 97 research and teaching protocols at Queen’s University.
Large mammals represent roughly 1 per cent of total animals involved in science at Queen’s in 2020. Almost 78 per cent of the animals involved in science were rodents. Other animals involved were laboratory fish (~13 per cent) and wildlife species made up of birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians (~8 per cent).
How Were the Animals Involved in Science?
The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is the national peer-review organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of high standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada. They divide animal use in science into five Categories of Invasiveness (A to E). Category A includes most experiments involving tissue culture, eggs and single-cell organisms and does not require annual reporting. No animals were involved in category E studies, which represent severe pain, at, or above the tolerance of unanesthetized conscious animals.
More than 70 per cent of animals involved in science at Queen’s University in 2020 fell under categories B and C. The invasiveness ranges from little discomfort and stress to minor stress and pain of short duration. For laboratory species, this could represent acceptable methods of euthanasia for tissue harvest, non-recovery surgical procedures performed under anesthetic, blood sampling or substance administration via acceptable routes. For wildlife species, this could include observation in the wild and brief periods of restraint for tagging, collecting measurements or taking blood samples.
Category D studies, rated for moderate to severe distress or discomfort, amounted to 30 per cent of total animal use. These might represent recovery surgical procedures and behavioural conditioning studies or captive housing of wildlife species.
Purpose of Animals Use in Science at Queen’s University
The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) divides the purposes for which we involve animals into the following 5 categories.
Purpose 1: Basic Research
Close to 50 per cent of animals were used in studies of a fundamental nature in sciences relating to essential structure or function (e.g., biology, psychology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, etc.).
Purpose 2: Medical and Veterinary Research
Approximately 49 per cent of animals were used in studies for medical purposes, including veterinary medicine, that relate to human or animal disease or disorders.
Purpose 3: Regulatory Testing
Canadian law dictates that animals be research models before humans in regulatory trials for drugs and general medical products. That requirement includes vaccines and medical hardware such as stents and heart valves. Queen’s University did not use any animals for regulatory testing in 2020.
Purpose 4: Development of Products
Approximately 0.25 per cent of animals were used for the development of products or appliances for human and veterinary medicine in 2020.
Purpose 5: Educational Purposes
Educational use of animals includes several areas of study at Queen’s University. Close to 1 per cent of animals at Queen’s University were used for educational purposes in 2020 all of which were for teaching and training in laboratory settings which commonly utilized animal tissue rather than the handling of live animals. Biology field courses often involve observational or very basic catch and release procedures to instruct the proper techniques for field research preparation (this did not account for any animal use in 2020). Queen’s also considers the use of wildlife animals for community outreach to be included in educational purposes (this did not account for any animal use in 2020). Where possible, vertebrate animals are replaced by invertebrates or non-animal models.