Griffin G, Dansereau M & Gauthier C. Categories of invasiveness – A precautionary approach. AATEX 2008; 14(Spl. Issue): 715-20.
The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) oversight of animal care and use requires experimental protocols to be classified according to the invasiveness of procedures. The CCAC policy statement on categories of invasiveness in animal experiments (CCAC,1991) provides the basis for this classification and defines five categories A to E (from least to most invasive). These categories are further refined and explained through development of CCAC guidelines aimed at minimizing pain and distress. The CCAC has been able to monitor progress in the minimization of pain and distress through collation and publication of detailed national animal use statistics on the numbers of animals used within each of the categories of invasiveness. In order to provide accurate data, the CCAC also provides guidance on the submission of animal use data, for example through an interpretation bulletin posted on the CCAC website.
A number of factors related to the assignment of categories of invasiveness (CIs) in the Canadian system have an impact on the national statistics, and on comparisons with animal use data from other jurisdictions. These include prospective assignment of severity, and precautionary measures such as assigning the generation of all genetically-engineered animals to CI D, a severe category of invasiveness. These factors will be discussed with a view to sharing experiences in animal use data collation, and enhancing public accountability.