Animals in Science

Animals in Science
Animals in Science

Report Animal Welfare and Compliance Concerns

File a Report

If you see any circumstance that you feel may be in breach of animal welfare or compliance, please report your concerns in one of the following ways:

  By campus mail (anonymously if desired),
addressed to the University Animal Care Committee

Use the anonymous hotline

Policy on Incident Reporting

Incident reports are brought to the attention of the University Animal Care Committee (UACC) when issues involving compliance and animal welfare arise. Examples of incidents that must be reported are:

  • animal procedures being conducted that are not covered in an approved animal use protocol (AUP)
  • resistance to comply with Veterinary requests.

Incident reports should be submitted electronically to the University Veterinarian as well as sent as a signed hard copy.

Upon receipt, incident reports are forwarded to the UACC Coordinator for record.

The University Veterinarian will contact the Principal Investigator (PI) responsible for the protocol in question, to ensure that the report is an accurate representation of the occurrence and to explain why this situation is not appropriate, if it is not already evident.

All discussions between the PI and the University Veterinarian will be documented, and the UACC will be provided with an update on the situation. Helpful advice and alternatives will be provided to the PI whenever possible.

If required, a memo will be sent from the UACC to the PI outlining the incident and requesting details on how the situation will be rectified. Memos and responses of this nature will be kept on file for reference.

When an incident report has been filed it will prompt a targeted protocol review as per the UACC Policy on the Quality Assurance Program (QAP). This will involve the QAP coordinator contacting the PI to request a time that is convenient for all parties to observe/discuss the activity/issue.

An observation report form will be used and personnel will be given a chance to look over the conclusions drawn from the visit before a final report is sent to the University Veterinarian and UACC chair for response. This form will be kept on file with the protocol.

The UACC reserves the right to request a follow up visit.

This process is designed to encourage open communication between the PI’s, the Facility Managers, Veterinary Services and the UACC, and solutions seen appropriate from both a research and compliance stance are the goal.

Any person reporting a concern is protected by the Queen’s Safe Disclosure Reporting and Investigation Policy

Queen’s University regards the use of animals in science as an integral component to our research-intensive program. We are committed to conducting the highest -quality research and to providing animals with the best care.

All animal use in science is mandated by the guidelines and policies of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and the Animals for Research Act, enforced by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

The University Animal Care Committee (UACC) conducts protocol reviews and facility inspections to ensure that animals are only used when necessary and under humane conditions in accordance with the relevant guidelines and policies.

This policy outlines the responsibilities of all participants in the Animal Care & Use Program and provides guidance on the processes to be taken when animal welfare or compliance concerns are raised.


All participants in the Animal Care & Use Program have a dual role:

  • Collegiality between the different stakeholders (researchers, instructors, veterinarians, animal care staff, UACC members, managers, administrators and anyone involved directly or indirectly), and
  • Accountability to the UACC, Queen’s University, the CCAC, OMAFRA and the granting agencies.

All participants have the responsibility to report concerns as a moral obligation.


The following points should guide individuals when animal welfare and/or compliance concerns are being raised:

Animal welfare or compliance concerns may be submitted via anonymous hotline, electronically or in hard copy to the UACC Chair, the University Veterinarian or the UACC Coordinator as detailed above. The UACC will investigate any complaint that is received. If the complainant chooses to self-identify, they will be informed about the progress of the investigation and the final resolution.

  • Communication will be professional and based on mutual respect and trust between individuals. Following the investigation if no satisfactory resolution is achieved for all parties, senior administration will be consulted. Response and reporting will be expedient to benefit both people and animals. While gathering facts, generalization, assumptions and associations will be avoided in order to maintain good communication and willingness to resolve the issue.

  • In cases where the complaint involves animal distress, the University Veterinarian or delegate must clinically examine the animals before proceeding to an intervention (veterinary instruction may be given over the phone). The veterinarian will make every effort to contact the researcher and/or emergency contact person prior to taking required action as feasible.


  • As per the UACC Terms of Reference, the University Veterinarian has the authority to relieve pain and distress in any animal and the UACC has the authority to terminate any procedure.
  • The UACC has the authority to withdraw animal use protocol (AUP) approval until a satisfactory resolution is achieved.
  • The Department Head or Dean may be consulted for resolution of unresolved issues. 
  • The Vice Principal (Research), or delegate, is the highest authority in the Animal Care and Use Program.
Reviewed and Approved: April 2018; Dec 2017, Nov 2014, Dec 2011, Sept 2007. Created September 2007