Course:Animal Welfare and the Ethics of Laboratory Animal Use

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Animal Welfare and the Ethics of Laboratory Animal Use
APBI 490
Section: 201
Instructor: Dr Cathy Schuppli
Office Hours:
Class Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30-2:00pm
Classroom: MacLeod Bldg. Rm 214
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

A 3-credit course involving 3 hours per week for 13 weeks, suitable for third-year and fourth-year students, and open to students in all Faculties.

General Course Information For as long as animals have been used in science, there has been controversy over the moral acceptability of using animals for this purpose. Controversy stems from public concerns about animal suffering, debate about the benefits of the research, concern over the genetic modification of animals, and other topics. In response, governing bodies have been created to oversee the scientific use of animals; research has been undertaken on the capacity of animals to sense and express pain, suffering, distress and harm; and replacements for animals in research and teaching have been developed and tested. This course will examine the historical and current debate over the use of animals in science, including differing ethical perspectives and public attitudes. Students will learn about the current trends in the scientific use of animals, how their use is governed in Canada and elsewhere, and new developments in replacements for teaching and testing. Important aspects of governance such as the review of proposed research by animal ethics committees and implementation of the Three Rs will be critically evaluated. Finally, the ethical debate about the use of animals is influenced by our scientific understanding of the welfare of the animals involved. Students will learn about contemporary research on the welfare of animals used in science, including the effects of housing, breeding and euthanasia.

Possible sections:

Historic and current societal debate regarding the use of animals in science.

Public perceptions and attitudes towards use of animals in science.

Ethics and its application to the use of animals in science.

Current use of animals: numbers, species, models, and rationale.

The Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) – history, meaning, implementation, challenges and barriers

Replacement (Canada and International): with guest speakers

Refinement: methods and examples of minimizing stress and suffering of research animals

Reduction: methods and examples of reducing the use of animals in research

Governance to protect lab animals in Canada and other countries.

Role of Animal Care Committees – mandate, process, effectiveness, and challenges.

Contemporary topics and contentious issues including:

how housing affects animal welfare and scientific data

enhancing the welfare of animals through training and human interactions

assessment and treatment of pain

treating animals as “patients” rather than “models”

non-animal alternatives in teaching