General Information About Animals in Research & Teaching

What do I need before I can begin?

Any work involving animals in research or teaching must be described in an Animal Use Protocol (AUP) and be approved by one of U of T’s ethical review committees, known as the Local Animal Care Committees (LACCs). Mandatory animal user training must be completed prior to starting any work with animals.

Animals in Research & Teaching

The University of Toronto (U of T) recognizes that scientific and medical knowledge developed through animal research has alleviated pain and suffering, improved human and animal health, and has saved countless lives. U of T supports the judicious use of animals in research and education, in the interests of human health and animal welfare. U of T insists on humane and ethical treatment of all animals used in research and education.

U of T recognizes its legal and ethical responsibilities to ensure that animals are not used needlessly and are spared all unnecessary pain and distress. To this end, U of T adheres to all applicable federal, provincial, local and institutional laws and guidelines governing animal research. U of T maintains a robust veterinary care program directed by veterinarians specialized in laboratory animal medicine.

U of T places a high priority on 'The Three Rs' – refinement, reduction, and replacement, and is committed to supporting the development of techniques that adhere to the following.

  • Refine care and use practices to optimize animal’s experiences
  • Reduce the number of laboratory animals used to fewest required
  • Replace animals with non-animal models or less sentient animals when scientifically possible

The Local Animal Care Committees (LACCs) provide supervision, coordination, and review of every project proposed to include the use of animals. Each committee includes scientists, non-scientists, and members of the public to encourage representation of diverse viewpoints. These committees have the responsibility to approve, to require modification of, or to prohibit a project’s use of animals (all vertebrates and cephalopods).

Well-established procedures, similar to those used to monitor human subject research, are used for reviewing and monitoring animal research and education conducted under the U of T auspices. Project proposals are scrutinized carefully by the committee and by veterinary staff members specialized in laboratory animal medicine to ensure that humane use guidelines are followed and that animals receive professional veterinary medical care.

U of T continues to fulfill its obligation to ensure that professional and technical personnel who work with animals are qualified through training and experience to perform these tasks humanely and in a scientifically appropriate manner. U of T provides training in humane techniques to accomplish these purposes. All employees have the obligation to report anything they believe to be a failure to follow, or a deviation from, U of T’s animal care and use standards. All individuals involved in animal research or teaching are instructed how to make such a report and may do so anonymously.

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  • Coordinate and facilitate the ethical review process
  • Support the LACCs and University Animal Care Committee (UACC)
  • Provide oversight of all animal research or teaching at U of T to ensure that it meets or exceeds all applicable regulatory requirements
  • Address any reported animal welfare and compliance concerns

VPRI Contact


General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit

Research Oversight & Compliance Office (ROCO)
(416) 978-2798

Other Resources