Mount Saint Vincent University maintains and supports policies and procedures for the responsible care and use of animals in research.

As required by the by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Mount Saint Vincent University co-operates and complies with all agencies in Canada regulating the use of laboratory animals. To learn more about animal care and use in research, click here.

For animal care questions, please contact or

Mount Saint Vincent University is currently certified by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) as being in accordance with standards of GAP – Good Animal Practice®.  All research involving animals requires ACC approval prior to the start of research as per University policy.

Animal Care Committee

SMU ACC Membership: August 2021

Standard Operating Procedures

Coming soon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

MSVU Animal Care Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need permission to do animal research at MSVU?
Yes. All MSVU researchers must obtain Animal Care Committee (ACC) approval prior to the procurement of animals or beginning any studies using animals. ACC clearance is required to be in place prior to the release of grant or award funding.

Why are animals used in research?
MSVU strives to seek alternatives to using live animals in research whenever possible. Researchers are required to confirm that an alternative to the use of animals in research is not available for their particular study before they receive clearance from the ACC to place an animal in a research procedure. In some cases, an alternative model cannot replace a live animal.

What kinds of research conducted by MSVU researchers that involve animals?
Current animal research at MSVU involves various species of fish. This animal research contributes to research projects investigating evolution and development of the vertebrate skull.

What is an Animal Care Committee?
An Animal Care Committee (ACC) is authorized to determine if the proposed research is within the established guidelines and are humane and  ensures that all uses of animals for research and testing have been found to have scientific merit. The ACC reviews and provides clearance for protocols involving the use of animals and also conducts post-approval monitoring.

MSVU adheres to the high standards for animal ethics and care in research and education as set out by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

MSVU, through a memorandum of understanding, collaborates with Saint Mary’s University and their ACC is authorized to review, clear and monitor all animal research at MSVU.

How does the ACC address the ethical treatment of animals?
The researcher must demonstrate to the ACC that the research will be conducted according to the highest ethical standards and the steps that will be taken to ensure the wellbeing of the animals involved. The ACC considers a number of factors, including, the “Three R’s”: Replacement – research methods that avoid or replace the use of animals in a study where animals would otherwise have been used; Reduction – minimizing the number of animals used; Refinement – designing and modifying procedures to minimize distress. All applications submitted to the ACC must address any potentially adverse procedures or conditions, as well as the proposed actions that will be taken to address them.

Where can I find out more about the ethical treatment of animals in animal research in Canada?
The CCAC is an independent body that oversees the ethical use of animals in science in Canada and is responsible for the dissemination of information on the use of animals in science to Canadians and is accountable to the general public. In addition to guidelines, documents and policies, the CCAC compiles comprehensive annual statistics on the number of animals used in science and produces an annual report to disseminate information to its constituents and the general public.  Please visit the CCAC website.