The approach at Vancouver Island University has always been to treat animals in our care humanely and to use the minimum numbers of animals to achieve necessary teaching and research goals.  A presidential committee, the Animal Care Committee was formed in 2000 as a reflection of our commitment to ensure the practice of humane treatment and use of animals.  The successful application in 2000 for Certification of Good Animal Practice from the Canadian Council on Animal Care represented not a philosophical change for the institution, but rather an updating and alignment of our practices to bring us in compliance with current animal care practices.  VIU continues to make this compliance an important, and necessary, part of our planning.

Vancouver Island University requires all departments involved in the care and use of animals for teaching or research to follow the guidelines of the presidentially convened Animal Care Committee and to submit appropriate protocols for approval.  The committee approves applications when they are assured that the care of and procedures involving the animals will be ethically acceptable.

Vancouver Island University is involved in animal husbandry in the Fisheries & Aquaculture department, which includes the Centre for Shellfish Research and the new International Centre for Sturgeon Studies established in 2011.  Fish are reared and kept for instructional and research use. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department programming focusses on training students in the proper care and rearing of aquatic animals.  A large proportion of people who raise and care for fish in British Columbia will have received at least part of their training from this department.  Vancouver Island University's high standards of animal care ensures students entering the workforce are familiar with the most humane methods of rearing fish in captivity.

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