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CVMA Statement on Video Taken at Montreal-area Research Laboratory

March 13, 2017

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has reviewed undercover video footage filmed at a Montreal-area research laboratory depicted in a publicly-aired W5 program that allegedly shows mistreatment of the animals and signs of distress.

Some of the images depict actions which contravene humane animal practices such as mishandling of animals; striking animals, and physical restraint without proper habituation training. Animal management systems in research settings must use current best practices and ensure that animals are treated humanely and with care. On the face of the short videos made available by Last Chance for Animals, this tenet is not met. 

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) has released a press release on the episode. Please read it here.

The CVMA strongly supports a review of ITR Laboratories animal use and care program to ensure that all those working with live animals as well as those overseeing the work of individuals working with animals have the appropriate knowledge, skills, training, and attitudes to promote the well-being of animals under their care.

Appropriately trained laboratory animal veterinarians must be an integral part of institutional animal care and use programs and have the requisite authority to act in the face of animal welfare concerns. The CVMA strongly supports the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) program, which oversees the use of animals in science recognizing that its strength lies in the recognition that animal welfare is integral to good science. The CVMA also supports the use of the Canadian Association for Laboratory Animal Medicine (CALAM/ACLAM) Standards of Veterinary Care as a framework for the implementation and delivery of appropriate veterinary care in academic, government, and private teaching, testing, and research institutions using animals in Canada. CALAM is currently working on an update, however, the substantive content is sound. 

Animal welfare advocacy is a top CVMA priority. CVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) develops positions, guidelines and standards that address the welfare, humane treatment and care of animals. Representatives of CCAC and CALAM sit on the Committee. The CVMA Animal Welfare Position Statements, including those on the Use of Animals in Science can be viewed online.