What Types of Animals Are Studied in Canadian Science?

Consult annual data

In Canada, approximately 3 million animals (vertebrates and cephalopods) are studied each year for scientific purposes.

Many different types of animals are included in the above number, from rodents and birds, to cattle and fish. However, there are certain animals that are more frequently studied, while some other animals are rarely, if ever, involved in Canadian science.

According to the latest annual animal data published by the CCAC, in 2015, mice, fish, and cattle made up the majority of animals studied in Canadian science. Mice and fish alone make up over 70% of all animals in science.


Where Do These Animals Come From?

Animals in science can come from various sources, which are divided into two categories, purpose-bred animals and non purpose-bred animals.

Purpose-bred animals are bred specifically for science by either a supplier or within an institution. Most animals in Canadian science are purpose bred, as mice, fish, and rats (which together account for almost 80% of animals in CCAC-certified institutions) are typically bred specifically for scientific work.

An illustration of a cow, sheep, chicken, and bird

Non purpose-bred animals are not bred specifically for science and can include wildlife, farm animals, and animals brought by their owners to veterinary schools to obtain necessary care and treatments for illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. This category also includes animals obtained through agreements between institutions and animal shelters. These animals are studied for educational purposes to teach veterinary medicine and animal health technology students. In turn, the institution provides necessary care and treatments to the animal. By the end of the academic year, these animals are generally in excellent health and are ready to be adopted into a new home. Animals can also be obtained through agreements between institutions and pounds.

As specified in the CCAC guidelines on: procurement of animals used in science, CCAC-certified institutions must follow a list of strict steps when entering into agreements with pounds and shelters.