When Do I Need an Animal Use Protocol?

What do I need before I can begin?

In order to determine if an Animal Use Protocol (AUP) is required, first determine the scope and nature of the animal work. This includes the type(s) of species you plan to use, the types of activities that require animals use, and where the work will occur (e.g. at U of T or at another institution).


Any Instructor or Principal Investigator (PI) working with vertebrate species or cephalopods must submit an animal use protocol (AUP) to the appropriate Local Animal Care Committee (LACC) through the online system – My Research Animal Protocol (MRAP). The LACC is responsible for the review and approval of teaching and research protocols to ensure that all animal use is in compliance with institutional, municipal, provincial, and federal regulations and guidelines.

Animal Work at U of T or in the Field

An AUP is required for all animal work (research and teaching) that will occur at the University of Toronto (U of T facilities) on campus or in the field (e.g. wildlife studies).  For teaching protocols, please see Pedagogical Merit Review for Animal Use for more information.

Animal Work at TAHSN Institutions

Any animal research which is being conducted in a fully-affiliated institution within the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) and using U of T administered funding must be covered by an administrative U of T AUP. In these cases, only a copy of the approved AUP from the affiliated institution and approval letter from its Animal Care Committee (ACC) is required.


A U of T AUP is also required for collaborations. A collaboration exists if animal-based activities at the host (external) institution involve one or more of the following:

  • U of T personnel (e.g., faculty member, graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, etc.) are performing the animal-based activities
  • U of T-administered funds are used for the animal-based activities
  • Animals are shared between U of T and the host institution (i.e., animals are transferred between U of T and a host institution as part of a study)

Refer to Guidelines for Collaborations with Other Institutions Involving Animal-Based Projects for more details.

If you are still unsure as to which type of AUP and/or additional documentation is required, please contact General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit as listed in the VPRI contact section below.

AUP Exemptions

A U of T AUP is NOT required in the following circumstances.

  • The use of invertebrate animals (exception: cephalopods)
  • Any work that is CCAC category of invasiveness A. This includes the following.
    • The use of eggs, fetuses, embryos, and larvae in research or teaching prior to stage where animals do not yet require the provision of feed (e.g., prior to tadpole stage for amphibians, and prior to yolk sac absorption stage for fish)
    • All dead animals and animals that are not euthanized specifically for research or teaching purposes, including the use of animals euthanized using standard commercial practices (e.g., necropsy specimens collected from animals euthanized/processed at an abattoir ) and animal tissues shared from other approved protocols
    • Animals that will only be observed in formal teaching and in research, that are not being held captive for these purposes, and where there is ‘no expected impact’*
  • Pets or display animals (e.g., fish) kept in offices or public areas unrelated to research or teaching
  • Activities involving interaction with animals not related to teaching or research. This includes but is not limited to the following.
    • The use of a therapy animal on campus
    • The use of animals on campus for social events/student club events
    • Third-party, animal-based activities held on campus (e.g., dog or horse club using campus facilities)

*Animals Observed With 'No Expected Impact': Given current knowledge of the behaviour of a particular species, the proposed study design, including access to or through sensitive areas (e.g., breeding sites), is unlikely to alter normal behaviour. This includes the timing and duration of specific behaviours (e.g., feeding, grooming, breeding) and interactions between conspecifics.

If you are still unsure as to whether you require an AUP, please contact General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit as listed in the VPRI contact section below.


  • Advise if an AUP is needed
  • Advise what type of an AUP is required

VPRI Contact


General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit

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