New CCAC Data Show Lost Pets are subjected to Procedures involving “Severe Distress or Discomfort”
Data also show a significant increase in the number of research animals subjected to the most invasive and cruel experiments
What would happen if you lost your beloved companion dog or cat? What if the leash broke and your dog disappeared? What if the kids left the front door open and your kitty wandered out and was lost?
You would put up posters, call your local shelters and veterinarians, canvass your neighbourhood, use social media and maybe even take out an ad in the local newspaper.
But you might be shocked and surprised that your pet cat or dog could end up in a research facility, subjected to painful experiments. Cats and dogs are taken from municipal pounds and shelters and literally disappear into research facilities.
When her dog Royal disappeared one day, Laurie Bishop took all the right steps to find him. What she didn’t know was that the local animal control officer who picked up Royal sold the loving golden retriever to a research facility. The facility deemed him too elderly for research (he was 13 at the time) and killed him. Laurie was never given a chance to be reunited with Royal.
This story is unfolding all across Canada – frantic Canadians are looking for their lost pets – posting heart wrenching stories on social media – canvassing their neighbourhood with posters.
Recently, the Canadian Council on Animal Care released its 2019 Animal Use Data Report. (https://www.ccac.ca/en/facts-and-legislation/animal-data/annual-animal-data-reports.html). The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is a national voluntary organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada. As part of its responsibility, the CCAC publishes annual animal data from CCAC-certified institutions. Included in the data are the number of pet dogs and cats used in research in Canada, what kind of procedures they are subjected to and the acceptable level of pain and suffering.
In what experimental procedures are cats and dogs “used”?
Purpose of Animal Use:
The CCAC tracks animals used in scientific studies through five categories, titled Purpose of Animal Use (PAU). Pet cats are used in all categories but PAU 3 which involves regulatory testing of products. Pet dogs are used in all categories. The vast majority of both cats and dogs is used in PAU 5– education and training of individuals in post-secondary institutions or facilities.
The statistics also show that of the 5,062 random sourced cats, 2,323 were subjected to more than one research protocol and of the 6,481 random sourced dogs, 1,402 were subjected to more than one research protocol.
Purpose and numbers of animal use – (see chart below):
- PAU 1 Studies of a fundamental nature in science relating to essential structures or functions
- PAU 2 Studies for medical purposes, including veterinary medicine, that relate to human or animal diseases or disorders
- PAU 3 Studies for regulatory testing of products for the protection of humans, animals, or the environment
- PAU 4 Studies for the development of products or appliances for human or veterinary medicine
- PAU 5 Education and training of individuals in post-secondary institutions or facilities
Categories of Invasiveness (CI)
Category of Invasiveness (CI) describes the level of pain and/or distress to which an animal could potentially be exposed while in a scientific study.
CI with the numbers or cats and dogs used in each:
- CI A: not applicable as this refers to invertebrates or live isolates
- CI B: Experiments which cause little or no discomfort or stress
- Cats: 3,483 Dogs: 1147
- CI C: Experiments which cause minor stress or pain of short duration
- Cats: 2,958 Dogs: 3,429
- CI D: Experiments which cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort
- Cats: 944 Dogs: 587
- CI E: Procedures which cause severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance threshold of unanesthetized conscious animals
- No cats or dogs were used in this CI.
Types of Procedures with Category of Invasiveness C:
Experiments which cause minor stress or pain of short duration
Possible examples: cannulation or catheterization of blood vessels or body cavities under anesthesia; minor surgical procedures under anesthesia, such as biopsies, laparoscopy; short periods of restraint beyond that for simple observation or examination, but consistent with minimal distress; short periods of food and/or water deprivation which exceed periods of abstinence in nature; behavioral experiments on conscious animals that involve short term, stressful restraint; exposure to nonlethal levels of drugs or chemicals. Such procedures should not cause significant changes in the animal’s appearance, in physiological parameters such as respiratory or cardiac rate, or fecal or urinary output, or in social responses.
Types of Procedures with Category of Invasiveness D:
Experiments which cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort
Possible examples: major surgical procedures conducted under general anesthesia, with subsequent recovery; prolonged (several hours or more) periods of physical restraint; induction of behavioral stresses such as maternal deprivation, aggression, predator-prey interactions; procedures which cause severe, persistent or irreversible disruption of sensorimotor organization; the use of Freund’s Complete Adjuvant (see CCAC policy statement on: acceptable immunological procedures). Other examples include induction of anatomical and physiological abnormalities that will result in pain or distress; the exposure of an animal to noxious stimuli from which escape is impossible; the production of radiation sickness; exposure to drugs or chemicals at levels that impair physiological systems.
Figures from the 2019 CCAC Animal Data Report
|Purpose Bred Cats|
|Random Sourced Cats|
|Source Unspecified Cats|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||B||1||25|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||B||2||150|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||B||5||290|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||C||2||26|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||C||5||78|
|Cats||Cats, source unspecified||D||2||32|
|Purpose Bred Dogs|
|Random Sourced Dogs|
|Source Unspecified Dogs|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||B||1||148|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||B||2||13|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||B||4||48|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||B||5||416|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||C||1||11|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||C||2||12|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||C||3||391|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||C||4||340|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||C||5||133|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||D||1||25|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||D||3||114|
|Dogs||Dogs, source unspecified||D||4||164|
CCAC Data: Increase in animal use between 2015 and 2019
Over the last five years (2015 to 2019), the number of research animals used increased from 3,570,352 in 2015 to its highest point in 2019 at 4,562,522. This is an astonishing increase of almost one million animals. Here are some of the animals whose numbers increased:
- birds by 994,852
- cows by 285,459
- pigs by 12,445
- dogs by 2,622
- cats by 859
- other animals by 25,553
Purpose of Use (PAU) and Numbers of Animals showing decrease or increase:
- PAU1 – 2015: 2,300,129 animals; 2019: 2,051,079. This is a decrease of 249,050
- PAU2 – 2015: 484,123; 2019: 1,461,290. This is an increase of 977,167
- PAU3 – 2015: 204,897; 2019: 218,065. This is an increase of 13,168
- PAU4 – 2015: 601,062; 2019: 663,858. This is an increase of 62,796
- PAU5 – 2015: 167,162; 2019: 351,025. This is an increase of 183,863
Categories of Invasiveness (CI) and Numbers of Animals showing decrease or increase:
Category of invasiveness describes the level of pain and/or distress to which an animal could potentially be exposed during a scientific study.
- CI A – no data available
- CI B – 2015: 1,168,599; 2019: 2,134,957. This is an increase of 966,358
- CI C – 2015: 1,405,264; 2019: 1,207,785. This is a decrease of 197,479
- CI D – 2015: 1,106,864; 2019: 1,249,683. This is an increase of 142,819
- CI E – 2015: 76,646; 2019: 152,892. This is an increase of 76,246