When is ACUC Review Required?

Animal Use Requiring ACUC Review

The University is responsible for all research, teaching and testing involving living non-human vertebrates or invertebrates of Class Cephalopoda or higher conducted by its staff and students, whether the research is conducted at the University of elsewhere. The University is also responsible for all research, teaching and testing using animals that takes place within its facilities or using its resources.


University staff and students participate in research collaborations and partnerships all over the world AND the University receives visiting students and scholars from a host of countries and institutions.

Despite many nuances that arise in this type of collaboration, in almost all cases a review must be done by one of the Animal Care and Use Committees at the University of Alberta. This document outlines some potential scenarios that can arise in collaborative research (UAPWC 2016), and how the ACUC will handle the review and approval. See also CCAC Policy on Animal-based Projects Involving Two or More Institutions and related FAQs and Tri-Agency Agreement.

Exceptions to the Requirement for ACUC Review

Some research, teaching or other activities such as those described below may not require full review by an Animal Care and Use Committee. Examples of these categories of exemption are listed below. 

  1. Research or teaching protocols that are Category A of invasiveness do not require full ACUC review:
    • Observation of wild animals (where the research does not involve modification of the environment that might affect animal behaviour);
    • Invertebrate animal research (below Class Cephalopoda);
    • Work involving live isolates (eg. excreta/parasites collected from the environment without handling live animals, zebrafish embryos less than 96 hours old, chick embryos at less than 2/3 incubation);
    • Work involving animal derived tissues or cadavers (animals found dead or tissue obtained from the slaughter house or animals euthanized under another AUP for that research but which can be used for another purpose).
  2. Other activities that involve interacting with animals (i.e., activities that are not research, teaching or testing) may also not require ethics review, but may still require consideration of animal welfare, human health and safety, or other issues that need to be addressed. For example, the use of companion animals in a student club event, or the use of a therapy dog during exam time, bringing animals on campus for social events. All activities with pets must be in compliance with the Pets on Campus Procedure (UAPPOL).

To determine if your proposed work is exempt from full ACUC review, an Exceptions to ACUC Review Form should be submitted. (Access to the form is restricted to UAlberta personnel and requires login to UAlberta Google account (CCID). If you receive a "permission required" message, you may be logged in under a non-UAlberta Google account. In this case, log out of that account and accessing the link again should prompt for a login.)

A review of the form and determination will be conducted within 10 business days and you must have received a response BEFORE the activity is conducted.  The review may determine that the described activities actually do require ACUC review, and in those situations, the applicant is directed to file a full Animal Use Protocol application through the online system.

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