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Animal Testing in Canada

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 27 Jul 2020 | comments*Discuss
Canada Animal Testing Canadians United

Animal testing varies around the world although in westernised countries there do tend to be many shared features. In Canada, animal testing is regulated but not quite as stringently as animal testing in the United Kingdom (UK). The basic approach, however, is similar to the one in Britain.

Health Canada

Health Canada governs the protective aspect of the Canadian public through numerous means. One of these aspects includes protection from the potential hazards of a medication or product. Therefore, Canada supports the use of animal testing to further medicine and healthcare. Health Canada states that it is vital to have an understanding of how the body functions under different conditions, which includes its repair and protective mechanisms in relation to their operation in the body. Health Canada further states that prior to conducting any studies on a person, researchers are required to use animal models that are similar to humans. It is this particular approach that governs Health Canada's support for animal testing. It also means that non-animal models can't be entirely removed from research, which further strengthens Health Canada's belief in the benefits of animal testing. This isn't to say that Canada does not support the use of non-animal models. Rather, it simply explains Canada's stance that given the current demands of scientific research, both must be utilized. Whenever possible, non-animal models will be used but only if the experimental aims can still be successfully satisfied.

Ultimately, Health Canada is focused on protecting Canadians from any hazards in a product - whether it's a household product or a medication. This means that producers of food items, medical equipment, pharmaceutical products or home items are legally required to meet the safety obligations set out by Health Canada. To meet these requirements, animal testing is often needed. However, if a specific ingredient or formulation has received previous testing and safety confirmation, it doesn't generally require additional testing on animals.

Minimising Animal Harm and Suffering

The Canadian approach to animal testing includes minimising animal suffering whenever possible and using alternatives where applicable. While recognising that improvements in many medications and treatments for disease, vaccines and other health aids are largely due to animal testing, Canada still supports refinement, replacement and reduction techniques in animal testing. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Animal Care (CCAC) ensures that animals are used under ethical and proper conditions. They cite that animals used for testing purposes must receive optimal care within the realms of the experimental use. In addition, they must be treated humanely and respectfully during the course of their use. This use occurs in universities within Canada as well as in government and private facilities across the country. Guidelines created by the CCAC that govern the experimental use of animals require that animal use may only occur if it provides a positive and meaningful contribution to human understanding of biology or to the gaining of knowledge such that animals or humans can benefit. It also cites the importance of professionals who can confirm that the experimental use is in the best interest of human or animal welfare.

Animal Care Committees (ACCs)

In Canada, the CCAC is clear that to ensure animal welfare is respected, laboratories and similar facilities in Canada must be monitored by ACCs. These committees serve to monitor the industry's use of animals for testing purposes while focusing on the treatment of animals in relation to their housing, hygiene, food and medical needs. ACCs also monitor the pharmaceutical management of animals used for testing. This management refers to cases such as providing the proper dose and type of anaesthetic or pain relievers as required for the animals. In addition, ACCs keep abreast of clinical trials procedures by reviewing their effectiveness, which aids in keeping animal testing protocols current and ethical. Also important is the fact that ACCs help researchers to choose the best animals for the particular experiment as well as minimise the number used.

Against Animal Testing

There are, however, still many organisations and members of the public who do oppose animal testing in Canada. These are comprised primarily of those who oppose cosmetics testing but conversely, support the use of animals only when absolutely necessary and only for the improvement of medical conditions and related health issues. In response to public demand for an end to animal testing in the cosmetics industry, some cosmetics manufacturers have responded by abolishing animal testing on cosmetics and firmly stating their stance on this type of animal testing. Advertisements and product leaflets are used to clearly show when a company is against animal testing, which has improved sales for some companies in Canada.

Like many other countries, Canada is open to the idea of halting animal testing if a viable alternative is discovered or developed. For now, however, no such alternative exists that is equivalent to an entire organism. This means that animal testing in Canada will continue but that it will do so under rules and regulations that ensure animals used for testing are treated ethically and humanely.

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I’m am disgusted and ashamed to be Canadian. The fact that not all animals matter is unbelievable. The human species of animal is the only that matters apparently. Animal testing is needed and therefore the only animals that should be tested on are those that willingly agree to do so! With that it seems as tho human animal testing is the only option. Don’t torture and leave to suffer these poor animals that have absolutely no say! I hope everyone who is apart of this and believes in this rots in hell.
Drlee - 27-Jul-20 @ 7:43 PM
Mr. Murnaghan states that "Canada is open to the idea of halting animal testing if a viable alternative is discovered or developed. For now, however, no such alternative exists...".I'm not sure what rock he has been living under, but countless research proves that in vitro research is much for effective, reliable and cost effective. Further, over 95% of products tested on animals do NOT replicate the same results on humans. Might I remind you of the testing on animals of the drug Thalidomide?Animal testing is ineffective, barbaric and cruel. The way a society treats it's animals speaks volumes. As a Canadian, I am ashamed we continue this practice. If Israel, India, Turkey and the entire European have banned animal testing, it is inexcusable that Canada continues to lag behind
angel - 12-Nov-19 @ 9:34 PM
- animal testing is wrong & should not ever happen! Make no mistake the Lord Jesus Christ.. Creator ofHeavan & Earth and all things..living things. Including animals that we are responsible for :Will bring all humans under judgement & they will be held accountable for all their actions.. in open & secret & whether they are good or bad deeds.So the people involved with this..your best best is to repent & turn from your wickedness. Because you will not escape Gods judgement. You can take that to bank.
John - 8-Jul-19 @ 6:38 AM
I disagree with ALL Animal Testing.I don't care for whatever reason.They are loving, caring animals with feelings.They are smart and can sense human feelings. I just HATE THE FACT THAT THEY USEANIMALS, ESPECIALLY DOGS, CATS AND PRIMATES!!!!!
Cuda - 20-Mar-19 @ 7:04 PM
I Only Buy Cruelty Free and make sure that the company I Purchase from does not have a Parent Company that Tests on Animals.
ME - 21-Nov-18 @ 8:00 AM
I know this is an old post, but I actually am all for animal testing. I love animals. However, (I do realize this sounds very bad), I believe that rats and mouse don't have rights. Animal testing is under strict laws and regulations, and these facilities make sure that the animals don't feel severe pain, and if they are, they are put to a painless death. Fact: there is no alternative that is as similar to humans where we can rely fully on it. To be really honest, I wouldn't trust anything if I am the first person to try something. I would take more comfort if another living thing tried it first, and that is what these animals do. Also fact: we eat waayyyy more animals than we test on. I sure do hope that every single person that is against animal testing is against eating animals, too. Slaughtering animals to eat is way more painful to the animals than being tested on painlessly. Just my thoughts..
mintyxp - 6-Nov-18 @ 4:44 PM
This is disgusting. The animals are treated poorly and receive no care after they’ve been tortured and poisoned
Mo - 29-May-18 @ 4:30 AM
They have other alternatives that are more productive then using animals. Stem cell research as well as new software applications are increasingly more viable then using animals. For decades they have been using animals to find a cure for cancer, ms, md etc.... how well is that going?Big Pharma wouldn't allow that anyways. Sick people make them rich......and since govt is in bed with corrupt big pharma a cure will never be allowed to reach the canadian people.So truth be know, all these animals are dying for nothing.Its time to fight animals being used for experimentation.
karen - 18-Jan-18 @ 4:58 PM
If our infact labs should be monitored every monent, why does ITR continue to test on animals.They should be able to test whatever they like ,but never again NOT ON ANIMALS.Universities now are testing in a dish.Why is ITR getting away with abuse.They shoud be monitored untill every animal is released. In fact the opposit has happened they expanded!!! ITR only gives minimual care which is horribly abusive.The vets did nothing and they are aware of the excessive testing and great suffering.ITR owes Canadians a new plan and at the very least an apology to the public.Please STOP all ANIMAL TESTING.ITR could keeps its name but announce they will no longer be using animals that progression. Morals not money so they can drive ther fancy cars that the suffering animals paid for.Please release the animals befor they torture and kill them. Whatever they testing for we don"t want it.
grace - 17-Jul-17 @ 2:05 AM
The Senior Vice-President of ITR laboratories Ginette Bain released a statementthat said that the person(s) involved no longer work for them. Did she ever take a walk through her building to see what was going on there? management is as guiltyas the ones caught on film are. This had to have gone on for much longer than 4 months, and no one was supervising?ITR claims that they encourage whistle blowing among staff members who witness animal abuse, really? then why did someone(s) getLast Chance for Animals involved?Ms. Bains justifies her company by saying they are saving human lives, fighting cancer.This is bigger than ITR. New cosmetic and household cleaners testing also kill animals daily.Want to Help?? Let you Government of Canada know that you are angry and you want changes made. Email your MP, tell them you want them to fight on your behalf to stop animal testing, they represent you. Tell them you are in favour of Bill c-246 and Bill s-214.We owe these animals that much.
Theresa Germain - 19-Mar-17 @ 8:02 PM
I am sad and disappointed when I viewed the events unfolding in this so called medical research facility in monteal. As a physician I can appreciate the need for medical research but this facility is clearly abusing animals in the name of research. This is unacceptable and inhumane. It is the responsibility of our goverment to protect these innocentcreatures. This is a sad stament as to what the ccac and other government agencies are doing or not doing if this type of situation is allowed to happen. I am disappointed, sad, angry and ashamedtoday to be a Canadian citizen. Clearly we have a lot of work to do yet in this county with respect to animal rights. Dr. G Rideout
Md - 16-Mar-17 @ 5:09 PM
Sickening, horrifying, revolting, sad are just Andrew words that come to mind. How can any human being treat a vulnerable and helpless animal this way. A thought comes to mind....Let's test on these heartless deviant people. Come on government! Do your job? God forbid we step on anybody's toes....Disgraceful!
La - 14-Mar-17 @ 4:46 PM
Health Canada requires testing on animals resembling humans as close as possible? Here's an idea. Test on humans. Imagine that!Test on serial killers, pedophiles, and animal abusers.The footage shown of ITR lab in Montreal is outright torture and abuse of highly evolved animals.How do you people sleep at night?This will be stopped. This law needs to be abolished. Innocent animals being subjected to unspeakable abuse and pain is criminal.
Kiki - 14-Mar-17 @ 2:41 AM
Where is the ACC for the ITR research lab? It's just disgusting that there are no laws to protect these poor animals. And to all the researchers who abuse animals, I hope karma gets you good.
Carly - 14-Mar-17 @ 12:03 AM
The episode on W5 only reiterates that we have no moral reason to exploit another species to improve our own.All medical testing must be shut down in Canada, including the firms that supply the animals to these labs.The pain and anguish of these animals will never leave me and we must all, each and every Canadian, act to end this abuse.I am ashamed to be a Canadian.The technicians in the video need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.Parliament must enact laws to protect animals from these horrors.
judi - 12-Mar-17 @ 11:34 PM
I am literally in tears over the treatment of these poor animals in the Quebec Lab featured on W5. This is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking! This is animal cruelty at its finest and it needs to stop! These animals feel pain like you or I and they are sentenced to a lifetime of it in this Lab! Embarrassed to be a Canadian today, I thought we were better than this...
Angie - 12-Mar-17 @ 4:58 PM
To think that the Animal Protection Agencies work their butts off to stop animal cruelty & yet the government who funds 2/3's of these labs not only condones but also gives thes labs the legal right to abuse animals!!! Ironic isn't it? Anyone who saw the W5 episode last night came away from it changed for sure. I still cannot delete from my mind the atrocities I saw, the abuse, the cruelty was not only evident but to hear the screams of pain & fright will linger within me for a LONG time!!! HOW CAN THIS BE GOOD??? :((
Angel - 12-Mar-17 @ 3:43 PM
The W5 program I watched today was the most disturbing show on animals I have ever seen.I sincerely hope that your lab will be shut down and these poor animals receive some care.For this cruel treatment to be allowed is so pathetic and there are no any other words to describe it. The staff who treats animals like this are people you hire and evidently there is no concern whatsoever about the animals.You should be shut down and charged criminally.
Lue - 12-Mar-17 @ 4:37 AM
Those lab people are sick. They aren't just resting, they are torturing. Look at the mother monkey holding her baby looking so desperate... broke my heart to see what humanity is... we are all live beings, we are all created equally. We have no rights to let others suffer every single minute of their lives. People who support lab testing should be punished. And as consumers, we should stick with non animal cruelty products.
Claire - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:59 PM
Here's an ideal. Stop testing on animals. It's cruel and inhuman. How about we test on murders and rapest.Whys isn't that legal test on horriable people. Instead of innocent animals
Blue - 6-Feb-17 @ 5:11 PM
I do not agree with animal testing, I thing that it is inhuman and horrible !
Monkey - 1-Dec-16 @ 2:05 AM
I do not so rove of animal testing. If we need to test a product on animals then we do not need that product. Animals have a right to life abdcsvtightbyo not be used by us to suffer. No more animal testing. I realy hate it when animals have to pay for our greed gir money and our mistakes.We have no right to take away there rights.
nil - 20-Feb-16 @ 8:20 PM
I love God like so much. And since I am a man of God I do not agree with animal testing. Animals are meant to be who and where God made them. God hates animal testing! I hate animal testing! Free the animals!
God luv3r - 22-Oct-15 @ 5:59 PM
Many websites claim that there are alternative methods to animal testing that work better. So why do countries continue to opt. for animal testing rather than persue the alternative methods? Couldn't we just completely eliminate animal testing or is it still needed for scientific advancements?
Nini_25 - 19-May-15 @ 1:54 PM
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