New Research: 8 in 10 Canadians want post-secondary institutions to stop harming animals for education and training

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, Aug. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New research, commissioned by the Animal Alliance of Canada Fund (AAC Fund) into public attitudes on the use of live animals in post-secondary education and training programs, reveals strong opposition to the standard practices of most Canadian programs.

For example, to train veterinary students how to perform invasive clinical procedures such as venipuncture and nasogastric tubing, animals such as dogs, cats, horses and cows are bred and warehoused in colonies on institutional grounds. Additional dogs and cats are sourced through municipal pounds in a practice called ‘pound seizure’. These animals are used repeatedly for procedures that are of no medical benefit to them and suffer the consequences in the form of chronic stress, learned helplessness and sometimes, debilitating injuries. Over 150,000 animals are used in post-secondary education and training every year in Canada with approximately one third subjected to extremely painful procedures.

The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is tasked with oversight of these animals. While the Council’s own policy dictates that animals may only be used if alternatives are not available, the number of animals used annually in education and training has tripled since the 1990s, topping out at over 400,000 in 2016 and 2018 – all while thousands of effective humane tools and methods exist.

The key findings from the research*, which will be the subject of a talk by AAC Fund CEO, Liz White at the 12th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Niagara Falls, Ontario today, reveal that:

  • 82% of Canadians believe more should be done to reduce the use of animals in education and training
  • 81% of Canadians are uncomfortable with pound seizure and 78% want the practice stopped
  • 77% of Canadians want post-secondary education institutions to stop breeding and keeping colony animals
  • 76% of Canadians want the CCAC held accountable for not enforcing its own policy on the use of alternatives
  • 75% of Canadians feel there should be consequences for institutions that continue to approve the use of animals when alternatives exist.

In addition, 62% of Canadians would support the government directing more funding towards education institutions that do not rely on the harmful use of animals and 66% would be more supportive of a government that values animal welfare.

Liz White, CEO of the AAC Fund said: “The views of Canadians are clear – they overwhelmingly want post-secondary education institutions to stop harming live animals to teach students.” White continued: “We are calling on universities and colleges across Canada to heed these findings and move towards fully humane curricula as Canadian policy mandates, and its on politicians to champion this change.”

Liz White
CEO, Animal Alliance of Canada Fund
Office: 416-462-9541, ext 23
Mobile: 416-809-4371

*Research conducted by Abacus Data from January 10-23, 2023, who surveyed 1,500 Canadian residents aged 18 and over, representative of the adult population by age, gender and region. [Contrary to a widely held view, the research found no statistical difference between the general public and those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.]