Why is Animal-Based Science Conducted in Canada?

In CCAC-certified institutions, animal-based science is only acceptable if it promises to contribute to the understanding of fundamental biological principles or to the development of knowledge that can reasonably be expected to benefit humans or animals.

Additionally, when researchers or teachers develop an experiment or procedure, they must carefully consider whether the use of animals is necessary for their work. The Three Rs principle must be implemented at every step of the planning process, and animals should be used only if every effort to find an alternative has failed.

In CCAC-certified institutions, animal-based science falls into the five categories described below.

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Fundamental Research

Studies of a fundamental nature in science relating to essential structure or function


  • Studying the migration patterns or habitats of wild animals
  • Investigating how certain hormones produced from the gut and brain regulate energy, balance, growth, and reproduction in fish

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Medical and Clinical Studies

Studies for medical purposes that relate to human or animal diseases and disorders


  • Studying rodents to better understand the genes involved in cancer
  • Studying dogs to better understand and develop treatments for canine epilepsy

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Regulatory Testing

Testing the efficacy and safety of products and medications, as per legally required by Health Canada before human trials can commence.


  • Testing the safety of vaccines on rodents and non-human primates
  • Testing the efficacy of a new medication for Parkinson’s disease

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Development of Products and Medical Devices

Studies for the development of products or devices for human or veterinary medicine


  • Development of new dietary products for farm animals
  • Studies undertaken on pigs to develop artificial organs for humans

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Teaching and Training

Teaching and training to communicate scientific concepts, and develop practical skills and expertise in specific techniques


  • Training veterinary students on disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Training animal health technicians on feline vaccination, X-rays, and dental care