Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT VI - March 23, 2001
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE UNIVERSITY COUNCIL ON ANIMAL CARE
(U C A C)
Three meetings of Council were held in 2000, on January 20th, June 13th and November 2nd .
Items discussed at these meetings included, but were not limited to, the following issues:
Attached as Appendix 1 is an Annual Report prepared by Animal Care and Veterinary Services. It was received for information by the University Council on Animal Care at its March 8th, 2001, meeting and further details items considered by Council.
I. ROLE OF ANIMAL CARE AND VETERINARY SERVICES
The Department of Animal Care and Veterinary Services (ACVS) receives its mandate from the University Council on Animal Care (UCAC) and the Animal Use Subcommittee (AUS). As such we aim to facilitate animal based academic research while at the same time working with the research community to ensure that the institution is in compliance with regulatory bodies. The department consists of two coordinated entities that work to deliver that mandate: Animal Care is responsible managing the Health Sciences Animal facility; Veterinary Services is responsible for consulting with investigators and facility managers at all the animal facilities, providing professional and technical manpower, providing training, and ensuring research conducted at the University of Western Ontario or any of its affiliated institutions is conducted in accordance with University, Provincial, and Federal guidelines or regulations.
While the Director (DACVS) does not have budgetary control over housing facilities other than the Health Sciences Animal Facility, all animal facilities and animal laboratories at the university and its affiliated research institutes and hospitals come under the responsibility of the DACVS and the University Council on Animal Care. The managers of all facilities are aware of their responsibility. In order to improve communication between the various facilities and the department, monthly meetings and a system for reporting animal use issues have been implemented
(a) VETERINARY SERVICES
Veterinary services are provided to all animal facilities (Health Sciences, Thames Hall, Huron College, Psychology, Zoology, St. Joseph's Hospital, Victoria Hospital, University Hospital, London Regional Cancer Centre and Robarts Research Institute). Veterinarians are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
(b) ANIMAL CARE
The animal care department is responsible for the management of the Health Sciences Animal Facility and the feeding and care of the animals within.
II. ACVS SUMMARY
(a) STAFF CHANGES
(b) STAFF CONTINUING EDUCATION
All staff are encouraged to attend continuing education. As time constraints had been a major issue during 2000, the majority of the training was provided in-house.
(c) EMERGENCY VETERINARY SERVICES
Emergency veterinary care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Veterinary technicians are available after hours as required. Veterinary services are provided to all animal facilities affiliated with the University of Western Ontario
(d) VETERINARY ROUNDS
Routine announced veterinary rounds of all facilities are performed. In 2000, a total of 47 rounds were performed. This does not include visits to treat or assess sick animals. While animal health and welfare and protocol compliance are the primary concerns, physical plant issues are also noted. In addition, investigators and research staff frequently take this opportunity to discuss issues regarding research models and animal health.
A report is prepared following each visit. Whenever possible, resolutions of problems are included in this document. The report is sent to the facility manager, AUS members and the Director and Assistant Director, ACVS. The AUS may require additional follow up.
(e) MANAGER MEETINGS
In order to improve communication between the various facilities, Veterinary Services has instituted a monthly lunch meeting with the managers. This provides a forum to share information, discuss problems, and plan for the future.
(f) FACILITY MANAGERS REPORT REVIEW
The managers of the larger facilities submit monthly reports to Veterinary Services for review by the Clinical Veterinarian. These reports provide information on a wide range of subjects and ensure that the department is kept updated on problems and concerns within the facilities. Issues identified within the reports are addressed by the Clinical Veterinarian and documented in Veterinary Rounds Reports or Veterinary Reports to the AUS. Copies of all Facility Managers Reports are stored in the ACVS library.
(g) PROTOCOL REVIEW
An ACVS Veterinarian reviews modifications and renewals to protocols prior to approval by the AUS chair. In addition, new protocols are reviewed prior to their presentation to the AUS. In 2000, 43 new protocols, 211 renewals, 237 modifications and 4 pilots were reviewed. Both the Director and the Clinical Veterinarian attend AUS meetings to address protocol issues and answer questions raised by AUS members.
(h) ANIMAL USE SUBCOMMITTEE SITE VISITS
Site visits by the AUS are conducted on a monthly basis. An outline for documenting site visits, based on the CCAC format, has been developed. The site visit team is comprised of the Director or Assistant Director ACVS, the facility manager, the AUS representative for the facility and one other AUS member. Each member of the site visit group reviews the draft report prior to presentation to the AUS. The report is distributed to the Facility Manager, the Facility Director, and the AUS representative from the facility.
In 2000, 15 visits were performed.
(i) VETERINARY REPORT TO THE ANIMAL USE SUBCOMMITTEE
Presented at each AUS meeting is the Clinical Veterinarian's report summarizing issues that arose during the previous month, and their resolution. Committee members have the opportunity to ask questions or provide suggestions on additional action.
(j) CONSULTATION FOR CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATIONS
Veterinary Services provides expert assistance to departments and facilities that are planning renovation or construction of new animal facilities. During 2000, we were involved in planning for the proposed City Wide Animal Facility, Westminster Facility, and the Brain/Mind NHP Facility in the Robarts Research Institute. As well as the Health Sciences renovations to construct short term rhesus monkey facilities for the Brain/Mind research group. We have also been involved in the planning of and the monitoring of construction of the Health Sciences Sheep Containment Unit for the Perinatal Research Group. This group is relocating from the Lawson Research Institute due to Coxiella contamination of that facility.
(k) CLINICAL TECHNICAL AND VETERINARY SERVICES
Rent-A-Tech and Rent-A-Vet services are provided for investigators at all facilities as requested. Available are a wide variety of research procedures such as surgery, patient monitoring, antibody raising, anesthesia, gavaging, and blood collection.
(l) DEVELOPMENT OF STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
ACVS staff develop new SOPs, and review and revise existing SOPs as required.
(m) POST MORTEMS
An ACVS veterinarian performs post-mortem evaluation of any animal that dies unexpectedly or is euthanized due to unforeseen complications. This service is provided at no cost to the investigator. A report is prepared and distributed to the principal investigator and other research staff as required. If the Veterinarian has concerns about infectious pathogens, compliance issues, or deficiencies in training or technique of personnel, a copy is appended to the animal use protocol and one is maintained within the department.
Additional testing is performed as deemed necessary by the veterinarian. In house testing includes parasitology and limited bacteriology and serology. Histopathology, bacteriology and serology are sent to outside veterinary labs in both Canada and the United States.
In 2000, 269 post-mortem evaluations were performed.
(n) DISEASE SURVEILLANCE
ACVS co-ordinates surveillance testing of all university affiliated animal facilities. In general, routine surveillance is performed within the Health Sciences Animal Facility on a biannual basis. Samples from the other facilities are included with these shipments as required.
(i) Health Sciences Animal Care Facility
In February of 2000 Sialodacryoadenitis Virus (SDAV) was detected in rats. Concurrently, many research institutions across North America reported an outbreak of SDAV in their facilities. It was subsequently confirmed that the source of the infection was the contaminated trucks of a major commercial supplier.
In April 2000, in-house surveillance testing for a limited number of murine pathogens was undertaken. Mouse Hepatitis Virus (MHV) was detected and subsequently confirmed throughout the conventional facility. Epizootic Diarrhea of Infant Mice (EDIM), was identified in several rooms. Test results of rats were negative for viral and bacterial pathogens but did identify pinworm infection.
In May 2000, we began surveillance for Helicobacter, a bacteria that is being increasingly recognized as a pathogen with significant effects on research. It was present in mice in both the conventional and Exclusion Barrier facility. Rats in the conventional facility were negative.
(ii) Zoology Animal Care Facility
In June 2000, Mycoplasma pulmonis, CAR bacillus and pinworms were detected. Mycoplasma has been identified in one investigator's animals since 1991. CAR bacillus had not been previously tested for. Pinworm had not been identified on testing prior to this year
(iii) Psychology Animal Care Facility
In June 2000, testing indicated the rats were negative for significant pathogens. The voles were infested with lice. Previous testing had not identified this parasite and the colony is closed. The source of the infection was not identified.
(iv) Thames Hall Animal Facility
Due to the short term holding of animals in Thames Hall no testing was performed.
(v) Testing of Cell Lines and Biologicals
In 1999, testing of cell lines and biologicals was initiated as it was recognized that these products could commonly transmit infectious pathogens when injected into animals.
In 2000, 21 cell lines were tested. One of the samples was positive. It was contaminated with Mycoplamsa pulmonis. A replacement was commercially available so the investigator was able to easily replace the contaminated cell line.
(o) DISEASE MANAGEMENT
(i) Health Sciences Animal Facility
Surveys were sent to all investigators using rodents in the Health Sciences Animal Facility requesting their input on how they expect ACVS to respond in the future to specific diseases within the facility. Several follow up meetings were held with investigators. The investigators directed ACVS to accept certain adventitious organisms into the conventional facility and exclude others. The disease restrictions for the Exclusion Facility are much more rigorous.
Dr. Bailey wrote to all investigators using rodents in the Health Sciences Animal Facility. The letter advised them of the policies put in place as a result of investigator feedback obtained from the surveys and meetings.
In February of 2000, one of the rat rooms contained a number of rats exhibiting sneezing, epiphora, porphyrin staining, and cervical swelling. A tentative diagnosis of SDAV was made, and subsequently confirmed on histopathology and serology.
It was eventually confirmed that the source of this virus was shipping crates received from Harlan Sprague Dawley.
The decision was made to stop new rat arrivals for eight weeks, euthanize rats that were not currently being used in research, not essential to research for the next eight weeks or were immunocompromised, and to permit all the remaining rats to become infected and recover before allowing new rats to enter the facility. Once exposed, all rats except those that were immunocompromised, would mount an immune response and become resistant to further infection from SDAV.
In order to permit ongoing research to continue, rat microisolators were ordered and part of the 5000 Barrier Block was devoted to rat barrier facilities. This accommodated investigators who were able to perform their work within biological safety cabinets.
Serum samples were taken and tested from rats in all rat holding rooms to confirm that exposure had taken place. Once it was established that all rats in the facility had been exposed, sentinel rats of a susceptible strain were put into each rat holding room, to determine if the virus was still being shed by the rats that had been exposed. Testing of these sentinel rats confirmed that our strategy had been successful and no active virus was present or being shed.
MHV was deemed acceptable in the conventional facility but was to be excluded from the Exclusion Barrier Facility.
No action was taken to address the presence of MHV in the conventional facility.
EDIM was deemed acceptable in the conventional facility but was to be excluded from the Exclusion Barrier Facility.
As the EDIM was contained to only a single room, the decision was made to eliminate it. Infected animals were either euthanized immediately or moved into the Inclusion Facility until they were euthanized.
Helicobacter was deemed acceptable in the conventional facility but was to be excluded from the Exclusion Barrier Facility.
The program to eliminate Helicobacter from the Exclusion Barrier facility required investigators to reduce populations in affected rooms and to put the remaining mice on a treatment regime. Testing to ascertain the efficacy of the treatment will not be completed until March 2001.
Rats were placed on a medicated feed regime to eradicate pinworms. Follow up testing confirmed the treatment was successful.
(ii) Zoology Animal Care Facility
Pinworms, Mycoplasma pulmonis and CAR bacillus were identified in the facility. For pinworm treatment, the mice were placed on a medicated feed regime. Final assessment regarding efficacy of treatment will not occur until 2001.
It was decided to take no action regarding Mycoplasma and CAR bacillus at this time. Discussion was initiated between Veterinary Services and investigators using the zoology facility, to determine whether any action is required in the future.
(iii) Psychology Animal Care Facility
Lice were identified on voles held in the facility. The animals were isolated and successfully treated by adding a parasitacide to their bedding.
(p) INVESTIGATION OF COXIELLA NEGATIVE SHEEP SOURCES
To meet Health Canada's recent Guidelines for Biomedical Facilities using Sheep as Research Animals, we conducted an exhaustive study of the sources of sheep available to us. This was to ensure that we reduced the risk of introducing Coxiella into the facility by selecting the cleanest available sheep.
We requested data on the test methodology, the laboratory used, frequency of testing within the flock, the numbers of animals tested, and which animals were selected for testing. As well, we requested references from each supplier and asked the references for any data they had on follow-up testing done on sheep at their end. We also requested from the references, data on any human surveillance testing conducted while a specific supplier's animals were at their facilities.
(q) LAWSON RESEARCH INSTITUTE DECONTAMINATION
In the fall of 1999, personnel employed at the Lawson Research Institute (LRI) seroconverted to Coxiella burnetti, the etiological agent of Q-Fever.
The office of Biosafety and Senior Administration of LRI, the Director of ACVS, the UWO Biosafety Officer, and the Director of Staff and Faculty Health Services, were involved in establishing a plan to respond to this issue.
All sheep work at the facility was terminated. Work with susceptible species such as cats was relocated. The entire facility was surface decontaminated, and standard operating procedures were put into place to reduce the risk of exposure to employees. SOPs were reviewed and revised in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the organism. Proposals were sought from outside contractors to provide complete decontamination of the facility including the HVAC system.
Facility and HVAC decontamination will begin in 2001.
(r) PHARMACY SERVICES
The Veterinary Services staff assists investigators by searching out and acquiring novel and restricted access drugs, and by acquiring and dispensing controlled drugs.
The department maintains a small pharmacy as a service to the research community. Commonly used veterinary and research drugs, as well as supplies, are held in stock. Other material can be ordered on request. Narcotic, controlled and prescription drugs are maintained in compliance with federal legislation.
Veterinary Services holds an "Experimental Studies Certificate" for Telazol and for Buprenorphine. Telazol, when combined with xylazine, is used as an alternative to ketamine hydrochloride for the sedation and transport of pigs. Buprenorphine is used extensively for post-operative analgesia in dogs, pigs, non-human primates, rodents and rabbits.
(s) TRAINING PROVIDED BY ACVS
(i) Course on Animal Care and Use
In 2000, ACVS staff provided a total of 214 hours of direct teaching.
The Course on Animal Care and Use has historically been highly recommended but not mandatory. In December of 2000, the Board of Governors approved the establishment of a policy on Standardized Training in Animal Care and Use, to come into effect January 1, 2001. This policy will make training mandatory for graduate students, post-doctoral students, visiting fellows, residents, tutorial assistants, research technicians, and animal care technicians. We anticipate that this will result in a marked increase in demand for teaching.
The course on the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching is presented twice each year. The course is available to individuals who are involved in research using animals. The course consists of a half-day lecture and hands-on laboratory sessions. Hands on session are modified to meet the specific needs of the course participants. We anticipate that the course and laboratory sessions will need to be offered more frequently to meet the demand after January 1, 2001.
In 2000, 127 people attended the lecture portions, an increase of 65% from 1999. There were 332 participants in 38 workshops, an increase of 82% in participants from 1999. Now that the course is mandatory, we can expect a dramatic increase in demand.
(ii) Custom Designed Hands-On Workshops
In 2000, 12 custom designed hands-on workshops were given to a total 28 people, an increase in demand of 47% over 1999. We have managed to reduce the number of additional laboratories presented by maximizing student numbers with the scheduled courses. The ability to do this depends on the availability of laboratory space. Skills covered in the extra sessions included animal handling, restraint, blood collection, gavaging and injection techniques, as well as specific procedures requested by investigators, students and technicians. These sessions are offered on an on-going basis in order to complement the spring and fall sessions in animal handling.
(iii) Special Presentations to Investigators
ACVS and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology hosted a presentation to investigators and their research staff, by Dr. Robert Russell DVM, MS, ACLAM, the Director, Laboratory Animal Medicine of Harlan Sprague Dawley. He presented an informative discussion on the research effects of murine pathogens.
(iv) Other Lectures and Workshops
Lectures were given on The Ethics, Guidelines/Regulations Governing Animal Use in Research to students in Biology 310/Physiology 510, Biology 358, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology 483, Pharmacology 480, Biotechnology Techniques 482, Zoology 428A and Biology 358A.
A seminar on "Xenotransplantation: Ethics" was presented at the 2000 Annual Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Science conference.
In February 2000, two lectures were given to the London Health Sciences Hospital laboratory staff on zoonosis, handling and safety procedures when working with NHP blood and urine specimens.
One hundred students in Biology 310 attended a hands-on session that covered behaviour, handling and injections.
Six students in Zoology 428A attended a practical surgery workshop.
A ventilated rack training session was presented to forty individuals including investigators and ACVS staff.
Two half-day lecture sessions on Laboratory Animal Diseases were presented at the Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology, as part of the senior Veterinary Technology course "Research Methods". New this year, senior Veterinary Technology students from Ridgetown attended a hands-on workshop, which covered handling, injection and anesthetic procedures in mice and rats.
A custom designed session in Radiation Safety Training was presented to all ACVS staff
In the fall of 2000 a seminar on working with NHPs was presented to ACVS staff and investigators. Individuals presenting material included OH&S representatives and ACVS management. In addition two lectures where given to individuals involved in the handling of baboons and / or baboon samples.
Members from the University Police Department received training in emergency procedures with the department.
(t) FACILITY TOURS
Facility tours provide an opportunity for the department to educate the public.
(i) Educational Tours
Tours of the Health Sciences Facility, primarily in conjunction with Let's Talk Science are given to high school students in the London area. These provide an excellent opportunity to education young people regarding the care of animals used in research. Prior to visiting the facility, some individuals may be opposed to the use of animals in research. However, following the tour, they are almost universally impressed by the level of care and concern expressed by staff members.
There were a total of 5 tours including 88 students in 2000.
(ii) Orientation Tours
ACVS offers Orientation Tours of the Health Sciences Animal Facility for new investigators and their technicians. These are given approximately monthly, and a total of 14 tours for 106 people were given in 2000.
In 2000, there were 15 other groups totaling108 people, requesting Orientation Tours. These tours were requested by various groups requiring knowledge of the facility and included Novartis, TAP pharmaceuticals, UWO police officers, USC Campus officials, Drs. Bridger and Moran, and AUS members.
(iii) Family Tours
In September of 2000 a tour was offered to ACVS family members. Unlike most other workplaces, family members are not permitted to visit the animal facility, so it was of great interest to the 30 participants.
Due to the success of this tour, we intend to offer it yearly not only to ACVS family members, but expand it to include families of investigators and research staff.
Detailed contingency plans had been prepared for possible problems during the year 2000. No issues arose. The Y2K plan will be used as the starting point to create strategic emergency response plans for all the animal facilities.
III. PHYSICAL FACILITY
ACVS has continuously invested in the materials, technology, and personnel required to operate a facility that meets CCAC standards and the evolving needs of investigators.
(a) RENOVATION and CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
(i) Inclusion Barrier - Health Sciences
During the past year the Inclusion Barrier area was completed on the 6th floor. This area was initially built to contain infected animals during the murine virus outbreak. Presently it now serves three purposes. Its main purpose is for quarantine of incoming animals from noncommercial suppliers. These animals are generally more likely to carry pathogens into the facility. They are quarantined in the inclusion area until follow-up testing indicates that they are clear of any pathogens.
Its second use was demonstrated very effectively when it was used as a containment area for animals with MHV and MPV. By isolating the infected animals in this inclusion area we were able to contain the virus and clean up the facility.
A third use for this area would be by investigators using contagious agents, such as adenovirus, in animals.
(ii) Exclusion Barrier - Health Sciences
Construction of the Exclusion Barrier area was completed. The rooms at the north end of the 5th floor were sectioned off with security doors, and a separate entrance outside the facility by the dental elevators was constructed. Ventilated racks were installed in each room of the barrier. This type of housing provides each individual cage in the holding rack with HEPA filtered air, ensuring an optimum level of protection to the mice.
This area offers to investigators the option of a cleaner and more secure area than we could provide in the past. In this area would be housed the cleanest and most at risk animals in the facility. This would include immunocompromised animals, mice transferred from Robarts barrier facility, and other mice or rats that have not or cannot be exposed to any pathogens whatsoever. The security system on this wing permits access to only those investigators and their staff whose security cards have been specifically programmed.
(iii) Feed Storage - Health Sciences
Room 605 was converted to a humidity controlled cool room to serve as a dedicated feed storage area.
(iv) Brain/Mind Project - Health Sciences
Renovations commenced in the fall of 2000 on Rooms 607 and 608 to converting to a NHP holding room and experimental room for the Brain/Mind Research Group from Robarts Research Institute. When completed in March of 2001, this will provide temporary accommodation for the primary investigator of this group until the addition to the RRI containing the new Brain/Mind NHP Facility is completed.
(v) Sheep Containment Unit - Health Sciences
During 2000, construction of the Health Sciences Sheep Containment Unit started. This unit is to accommodate the needs of Perinatal Research Group formally at the Lawson Research Institute. Room 6050 will be converted to a laboratory and monitoring area, and 6050A and B will become sheep holding areas. Room 6015 will be renovated and divided into an operating room, a prep room and a surgeons' scrub room. Extensive renovations to the facility are required; this includes substantial modifications to the HVAC to include HEPA filtered exhaust and failsafe mechanisms. This will be the first facility in Canada to meet the new Health Canada Guidelines for Biomedical Facilities using Sheep as Research Animals.
(vi) Westminister Campus Tower Vivarium - LHSC
Veterinary Services has played a vital role in the design and planning stages of the Westminister Vivarium. We have provided extensive consultation services and attended regular meetings over the last year with the design team leader, the facility manager, the architects, the engineers and the investigators, and provided consultation to all these parties.
The facility will be approximately 10,500 square feet, located on the seventh floor of the Westminister Research Tower. The Tower will also include three floors of research laboratories. Requests for construction tenders are scheduled for May 2001, and facility is expected to be completed by May 2002.
The Director of Animal Care and Veterinary Services (DACVS) submitted the plans to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), and to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), for review.
The vivarium will house small animals (mice, rats, rabbits, frogs). This facility will also contain the core transgenic development group for the University and its affiliates. Within this facility there will also be an exclusion mouse barrier, two conventional areas, a small area that will be available for Level II work and an inclusion barrier to serve as a quarantine area.
(vii) City Wide Animal Facility
We have been very involved in all phases of the City Wide Animal Facility project since its inception over two years ago.
This process began with a survey of current and future facility and equipment needs of all the animal users at UWO and its affiliates. The surveys were reviewed and validated by comparison with current protocols and by follow-up with the investigator to verify the accuracy of their projected needs.
The Director of ACVS, a consulting architect, and the Director of Physical Plant reviewed the data and determined that certain facilities would need to be decommissioned due to age, condition, or the inability of the facility to meet investigators' needs or CCAC guidelines. Facilities that were in good condition and able to meet the investigators future needs were identified. As well, it was determined that the present Health Sciences Animal Facility despite being in good condition, would be unable to meet the future needs of investigators because of lack of space. The recommendations were presented to the City Wide Facilities Committee. The Committee approved the recommendations, and a report was presented to the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and to the VP Research.
The VP Research and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry supported the recommendations. The consulting architect, Katalyst (grant proposal consultants), and the Director ACVS were subsequently involved in interviewing investigators to further clarify and validate their future needs, and to identify the innovative aspects of their current and future animal based research that would be successful in attracting funding.
This project has been identified as a major initiative by the President of the University and is being lead by the office of the VP Research and the Director ACVS.
(viii) Brain/Mind Non-Human Primate Unit - RRI
Veterinary Services provided consultation and attended planning meetings involving the proposed Non-Human Primate Unit at the Robarts Research Institute (RRI).
This unit will serve to house Rhesus monkeys used by the Brain/Mind Research Group. It would provide housing for up to 14 Rhesus and contain 7 dedicated animal laboratories. It is planned to be approximately 7000 square feet occupying the basement of a new three-story addition to the Robarts Research Institute.
Construction is expected to begin May 2001 and be completed by fall of 2002.
(b) GENERAL MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
$25,000 was approved in the 2000 Capital Plan for general maintenance of the animal care facilities on campus.
General maintenance for 2000 included: addition of 3 large animal pens to Room 5546 for a total of 9 large animal pens. Room M-506 had the ceiling repaired and repainted. Room M-505 was repainted. Room 5568 and the Exclusion Barrier had electrical upgrades.
(c) NEW EQUIPMENT
Seven, 144 cage H.E.P.A. filtered Ventilated Racks were installed; six in the Exclusion Barrier and 1 in a clean room in the conventional area
(d) STAFF SAFETY PROCEDURES
Animal care workers are as a group, experience a high risk of injury. ACVS has invested in correcting issues identified as potentially putting employees at risk.
Safer step stools are now used when working with high caging. A security harness is now used by employees while loading the incinerator. Staff are now supplied with improved masks while performing cage changes. Slippery floors were resurfaced, and ergonomic stools are now used for working within Biological Safety Cabinets.
In the fall of 2000, we began to examine a plan to compost animal waste and bedding. The intent was to reduce the need to demand for use of the incinerator, thereby eliminating the backlog of materials awaiting incineration. Additional benefits would be reduced costs to the University through reduced labour, maintenance and energy costs, reduced environmental pollution, and a positive public perception of the University's environmental responsibilities.
IV. ANIMAL USE SUBCOMMITTEE
The AUS is a subcommittee of the University Council on Animal Care charged with monitoring animal use, monitoring compliance with Federal, Provincial and University regulations, and managing the animal use protocols.
The AUS receives financial and administrative support from ACVS and operates from space within the ACVS offices.
(a) SITE VISITS
The formal AUS site visit protocol has been implemented. This was done in order to enhance the peer review process and to create an inspection process that was in keeping with the CCAC inspections and reports. A veterinarian accompanies and acts as an advisor to the group, which consists of two AUS representatives, one of which is from the facility being toured.
In 2000, 15 AUS visits were performed, the same number as last year.
(b) PROTOCOL REVIEW
During 2000, the veterinary staff and AUS administrator reviewed 495 protocols. This was comprised of 211 renewals, 43 new protocols, 4 pilot protocols, and 237 modifications to existing protocols.
(c) ANIMAL USE
The total number of animals used in 2000 was 60,891. This is an increase of 17% over the previous year. The greatest increase by facility was in Zoology at 137% (the increase was due to a single protocol using a large number of fish), followed by Psychology at 40%, then the Health Sciences/Robarts Complex at 18%. The remaining facilities showed a decrease in animal use. The greatest decrease was at the Lawson Research Institute at 15%, followed by London Health Sciences - Victoria Campus at 7%.
Of the total animals used, 95% were rodents, followed by fish at 2% then rabbits at 0.9%. Use of other animals does not exceed 1.0% for any single species.
The greatest increase in animal use was mice at 8368 animals. The majority of the increase involved genetically modified strains, which require specialized housing and care. The most significant decreases were in the use of sheep and dogs.
(d) STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
114-01 Swine Husbandry (Health Sciences)
168-01 Protection Procedures - Fifth Floor Exclusion Facility - Health Sciences
160-01 Small Ruminant\Admission Policy - Health Sciences
162-02 Small Ruminant\Admission Policy - Lawson Research Institute
(e) DESIGN OF WEB BASED ANIMAL USE PROTOCOL
Veterinary Services and the AUS Administrator have been redesigning the protocol to accommodate a web-based format. We have negotiated an agreement with NTM consulting to design a web based protocol system that will integrate with the current protocol management system.
(f) REGULATORY AUDITS
(i) Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The following inspections were conducted by the OMAFRA in 2000. All facilities were found to be in compliance
Feb. 22 LRI Animal Care Facility, Dr. W. Holley
Feb. 22 RRI Barrier Facility, Dr. W. Holley
June 15 LRCC Animal Care Facility, Dr. W. Holley
Oct. 17 Psychology Animal Care Facility, Dr. W. Holley
Oct. 17 Kinesiology, Thames Hall, Dr. W. Holley
Oct. 17 Health Sciences Sheep Area, Dr. W. Holley
(ii) Canadian Council on Animal Care
The CCAC performed a scheduled inspection of the Health Sciences Animal Facility on March 7 and 8 of 2000.
There were no serious or major recommendations. The few general recommendations that were made were minor in nature and did not involve animal care issues. The following were the five commendations cited:
Dr. Harvey-Clark has performed over 30 assessments for the CCAC and said that our program is the best he has seen in Canada. Dr. Garnett from the National Institute of Health said that our program ranks among the best in the United States.
The panel members were also impressed with the investigators' willingness to make themselves available and the candor with which they discussed their research.