This is according to new 2019
“Animal use Data” recently released by the
Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC)
TORONTO, November 10, 2020: “CCAC data show that, over the past five years, the number of animals subjected to Category E experiments almost doubled,” said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada. “We’re talking about experiments that involve invasive surgeries, exposure to toxic chemicals and noxious substances, deliberately inflicted burns and other traumas—including on unanesthetized animals.”
The terrible truth is in the numbers. Between 2015 and 2019, animal use skyrocketed from 76,646 animals to 152,892. However, the CCAC’s data release offers no clear reason for this substantial increase.
“Nor,” said White, “does the research community at large present justification for the ever-increasing numbers of animals subjected to such extreme levels of pain.”
Categories of Invasiveness
Categories of Invasiveness, from A through E as the most extreme, describe the acceptable degree of pain that a researcher can inflict an animal research subject. Next to Category E in invasiveness and pain are Category D experiments. And the numbers there are even worse.
“More than one million animals in 2015, and up to almost 1.3 million animals by 2019, were subjected to Category D experiments,” White said. “This means that in 2019 alone, thirty—thirty!— percent of all the animals used in research in Canada were subjected to the two most painful categories of invasive experimentation.”
How do such statistics translate, in terms of suffering of individual animals subjected to Category D or E experiments in Canadian research institutions? According to the CCAC:
- Category D: Refers to experiments which cause moderate to severe distress or discomfort. Those might include: major surgical procedures conducted under general anesthesia, with subsequent recovery; prolonged (several hours or more) periods of physical restraint; subjecting the animal to such stresses as being deprived of his or her mother, aggression, including predator-prey interactions, and disruptions to sensory and motor function—among others.
- Category E: Encompasses procedures which cause severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance of unanesthetized conscious animals. Which means, for the individual animals, any one or more of: surgical procedures; exposure to noxious, possibly dangerous or even fatal stimuli or agents; exposure to drugs or chemicals at levels that may severely impair function of their systems, or cause severe pain or extreme distress—or death; use of muscle relaxants or paralyzing drugs, or burning or wounding without anesthetics, as well as injection of noxious agents or inflicting of severe stress that will result in pain which approaches the pain tolerance threshold and cannot be relieved by pain killers, but only, ultimately, by death.
Canada heading in wrong direction
“In the year 2020,” according to White, “there is no reason to continue—and indeed increase—painful, invasive and often fatal types of experimentation on sentient animals. Not when non-animal alternatives exist and are in rising use in other countries. These alternatives, ultimately, provide more accurate results without the massive suffering and death of millions of sentient non-humans. In Canada, this latest data release from the CCAC shows, we’re trending in the wrong direction.”
Therefore, the Animal Alliance is calling upon the federal and provincial governments to:
- Invest in New Approach Methods (NAM) of research. Support those in the research community interested in research using non-animal models; and
- Direct their research funding agencies and health charities to commit 40% of their charitable dollars to funding and validating NAMs.
As well, the Animal Alliance calls upon the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) to:
- Phase out all Category E experiments due to the unacceptable cruelty of such experiments; and
- Use the Certificate of Good Animal Practice as a tool to implement the 3 Rs. Focus on Replacement and Reduction as opposed to mere Refinement.