University Animal Care Committee

University Animal Care Committee

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I print a copy of my protocol for my Health Canada controlled drug exemption?

A PDF of the protocol can be generated in Topaz (for subsequent emailing or printing).

Generating a PDF of your AUP in Topaz:

  • From the Topaz Elements Dashboard click on the protocol in question under "My Protocols"
  • The toolbar along the top of the protocol contains a printer icon "Reports"
  • Click on this icon and choose "Protocol Detail Report - Answered Questions Only"
  • The PDF will be generated
  • Under File, click "Save As" or "Print" to proceed as needed
My funding agency requires proof of protocol approval - what do I send them?

The UACC Coordinator can arrange for a memo from the UACC Chair certifying that the protocol in question has been approved. If you require specific information to be included in the memo, please indicate so.

What do I do if I'm collaborating with another researcher at a different University/location?

Collaborative projects require UACC approval just like projects that occur on campus. There are a couple of common scenarios involving collaborative work:

  1. Research where the funding (lead PI on the grant) is being dispersed through Queen's, but the work is occurring at another institution or research where a collaborative PI or associate is performing the work at another institution.
    • ​​The UACC is responsible for overseeing the work carried out by all members of Queen's University. A researcher from Queen's University who will carry out animal-based work within another institution's facilities must first submit an animal use protocol to the Queen's UACC. This would preferably be on the Queen's AUP form, however, we have encountered certain scenarios where the protocol from the institution where the work in being conducted provides sufficient information for the UACC to complete its review (Institutions with CCAC GAP certification). Before work can occur, both institutions must grant approval.
  2. External PI's holding approved protocols with their home institutions performing their work at Queen's.
    • Researchers from other institutions who use animals at Queen's University (e.g.: individuals from other institutions using the Queen's University Biology Station) must provide the UACC with copies of their home approved protocols for approval. A statement indicating when the protocol was approved is required and the UACC may request additional information in line with our protocol form.
    • All animal work with any affiliation to Queen's University must be brought to the attention of the University Animal Care Committee. If you have any question as to the requirements please contact the UACC Coordinator.
Who must be listed on the Animal Use Protocol?

All individuals who will handle live animals must be listed on the animal use protocol. Those limited to handling animal tissue are not required to be listed on the protocol. Individuals assisting with administrative portions of the animal use protocol or animal ordering will need to be listed to facilitate access to the protocol.

When do my students sign up for training and get added to the protocol?

Research staff and students that are anticipated to work with live animals must complete theoretical ethics training prior to being listed on the animal use protocol. These individuals should be listed on the protocol only once it has been confirmed that they will be working with live animals. Upon completion of the theoretical training, they can be added to the protocol in Topaz via an amendment. Hands on training must be completed prior to any animal work occurring and it is best that this be within a short window of the hands on work commencing so as to ensure that techniques and methods being taught are still familiar when the time comes to implement them.

The Training Coordinator should be contacted to register students for hands on and theoretical training.

Process Flow

  • PI has student who will be working with animals
  • training coordinator is contacted
  • student is added to Moodle for theoretical ethics training
  • once theoretical training is complete student is added to Topaz and PI informed that protocol may be amended
  • protocol amendment adding student to protocol is submitted and approved 
  • student registers for hands on training by contacting the Training Coordinator
  • only upon successful completion of hands on training may the student commence work with animals
Is training available to individuals who won't necessarily be working with animals but will be working in the lab?

In order to encourage a good knowledge of animal ethics and care in science the UACC does offer these individuals the opportunity to complete the online ethics course which covers general principles of ethics in animal experimentation including regulation and legislation, consideration of alternatives and occupational health & safety. Hands on training will be reserved for those who are intended to handle animals and are therefore listed on the animal use protocol.

How much detail needs to be included in the animal use protocol?

The UACC is comprised of a diverse group of individuals, all coming from different backgrounds and with varying degrees of scientific understanding and animal model experience. Sufficient detail needs to be provided to ensure that all reviewers can provide a thorough review.

Particular areas that may require additional detail are those justifying numbers, and describing the procedures.

It is very important that the number of animals requested be justified and clearly explained. A strong emphasis is often placed on the reduction of animal use; however, it is also necessary that sufficient numbers of animals are used to fulfill requirements for statistical significance/scientific validity in the case of research projects. Although the UACC understands that exact numbers cannot always be predetermined, it is preferential that the lowest feasible number be requested as amendments can be submitted and approved in a timely fashion if increases become necessary.

Detailed procedural explanations are necessary to ensure that the UACC can perform a thorough review of the work to be conducted as it relates to the welfare of the animals and best practices throughout the laboratory animal community. It is the responsibility of the UACC to determine that animals are being handled in the most humane way possible and that wherever possible refinements are implemented. The UACC needs to ensure that the correct category of invasiveness is assigned so to guarantee that the CCAC receives accurate data.

Can I simply refer to a UACC approved Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) instead of including all of that information in my protocol?

The UACC continues to develop a comprehensive library of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help simplify the protocol writing process for PI's. The CCAC requests that protocols refer to UACC approved SOPs as much as possible.

SOP Database

Provided that the researcher will not be deviating from the SOP, it is reasonable to simply list the approved SOP number within the protocol (in the appropriate standard procedure comments field). All deviations must be listed in the protocol.

What is required to provide evidence of pedagogical merit for a teaching protocol?

For teaching protocols, a letter to the UACC demonstrating the levels of pedagogical review this course has undergone must be submitted at least once every 4 years (with every full resubmission). It is useful to explain when the course was introduced and any subsequent dates of departmental curriculum review (or other similar merit review). Some also choose to indicate whether the course serves as a prerequisite for further study as well as the benefit of the course as it relates to future study or career paths to help demonstrate merit.

What are student surveys?

These UACC approved surveys are used to collect information from students using animals or animal tissue in teaching laboratories on an annual basis (for each new session). They help the UACC evaluate the continued need for the use of live or animal tissue within a course. The aim of the survey is not to reduce the use of animals in teaching or to evaluate the instructor or the course itself, but merely to facilitate continued justification of the use of animals in teaching as per the requirements of the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

Why is it important to list hazardous agents and describe protective measures that will be taken?

The CCAC requires that institutional measures be in place to protect all those who may be exposed to animals from related hazards and to implement a complete occupational health and safety program.

The Animal Care and Use Program aims to ensure that that those caring for and using animals and those in the general vicinity of animal based work, are not put at risk because of this work. The animal use protocol is the first level where risks can be brought to the attention of the UACC.

Working closely with the institutional biohazard committee and the Director of Environmental Health & Safety the UACC works to ensure that safety practices are followed and that all required permits are in place. Annual facility and laboratory inspections as well as inspections performed through the Quality Assurance Program are also used to identify risks and to educate the research community.

What if I cannot predict the exact number of animals I will encounter during my field research?

The UACC understands that field research is dependent on many inconsistencies including climate, field environment, and population densities and as such projected animal numbers may end up higher or lower than originally anticipated. The UACC suggests that researchers list their upper limits for animal use and update the Committee accordingly. Should these numbers be exceeded an amendment must be submitted to adjust the protocol.

Do wildlife studies follow the same CCAC categories of invasiveness?

No they do not. The CCAC has specific Categories of Invasiveness for Wildlife protocols. (See Appendix D)