Protect Animals in Canadian Labs
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The terrible truth behind the undercover investigation at ITR Laboratories in Montreal is that the case is not an isolated one. Animal abuse is inherent in the very system which allows invasive experimentation on animals.
Canada is the only G8 country without federal government inspectors with the power to enforce rules governing animal treatment in testing and research labs. Instead, Canada has the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) - a body which can only investigate complaints with the co-operation of the research labs, and has never removed certification from any facility, no matter how egregious its violations. The CCAC is also only responsible for publicly-funded organizations, leaving animals held at privately-funded labs completely unprotected.
While the undercover investigation focused on animals used for testing, millions more are used for research, over 60% of whom suffer for basic, curiosity-driven research with no practical application.
Also making Canada unique is the fact that the CCAC specifically allows animals to be subjected to severe pain, even that which is "near, at, or above, the pain tolerance threshold for unanesthetised, conscious animals" (category of invasiveness E). This level of deliberately inflicted suffering is considered criminal cruelty in Europe.
In 2009, Canada became a member of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) but has since failed to comply with the agreement in refusing to actively seek out and implement alternatives to animals in experimentation. Meanwhile, countries like New Zealand, the UK, Germany and Spain have decreased their use of animals in testing and research by up to 26% , with the Netherlands committing to phase out all animal experimentation by 2025.
We urge the Canadian government to fulfill its commitment and reduce its use of animals in testing and research. In the meantime, Canada must immediately regulate animal treatment in testing and research labs, suppliers and teaching facilities that use animals.
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