e-Petition calls for change to animal testing

A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) kit stands in a meadow.
Photo by Antoine Clement / Getty Images

A new House of Commons e-petition is calling on the Canadian government to create stricter regulations and increased funding for the development and adoption of non-animal testing methods.

Spearheaded by long-time animal advocate and The Fur-Bearers’ supporter, Anne Birthistle, and sponsored by MP Don Davies, this petition aims to accelerate the transition to humane and innovative research techniques.

Animal Testing in Canada

Animal testing involves using animals in research and testing to advance scientific knowledge, develop new medical treatments, and ensure the safety of products. The framework governing animal testing in Canada is primarily based on the guidelines set forth by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

Established in 1968, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is a national organization responsible for overseeing the ethical use of animals in science. Its voluntary guidelines are designed to ensure that any use of animals is scientifically justified, that animals are treated humanely, and that their use is minimized. While the CCAC works to reduce harms, they have no legal authority and cannot take legal action against a lab for failing to follow its voluntary guidelines. The most they can do, even in cases of extreme animal abuse, is recommend that the government cut funding to a lab. Unfortunately, there is no publicly available information to suggest that funding has ever been stopped due to non-compliance.

Wildlife in Research

One lesser-known aspect of animal testing in Canada is the inclusion of wildlife in research. According to the most recent data from The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), at least 3,521,143 animals were used in Canadian experiments in 2022. These animals included mice, rats, fishes, cows, pigs, birds, reptiles, cats, dogs and also wildlife such as (but not limited to):

  • Black bear
  • Grizzly bear
  • Cougar
  • Coyotes
  • Fisher
  • Foxes (red, arctic)
  • Hares
  • Lynx
  • Mink
  • Otters
  • Raccoons
  • Wolves

With the inclusion of wildlife in research, the scope of animal testing is broader than many realize, underscoring the importance of ethical considerations in all areas of scientific inquiry. As technology advances and public awareness grows, the shift towards more humane and effective research methods is becoming increasingly urgent and necessary.

Canadian residents can click here to register and sign this formal House of Commons petition that, if the signature target is reached, will require a response from the government.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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