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Canadian Council on Animal Care releases wildlife guidelines

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The Canadian Council on Animal Care has released new peer-reviewed guidelines for wildlife, which provide information for protocol authors, animal care committees, animal care staff, and veterinarians to help facilitate improvements in both the care given to wildlife, and the manner in which scientific procedures are performed.

The guidelines cover scientific activities involving wildlife that require animal care committee approval under Canadian policy and law. It applies to free-ranging and wild-caught cephalopods and vertebrates except fish, including wild amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that are native, introduced, or have become feral.

Specific to birds, the new guidelines note that cardiac puncture must be performed under general anesthesia and is only appropriate for birds in terminal procedures. For euthanasia of birds, manual cervical dislocation can be used on small birds (<200 g), but a mechanical cervical dislocation device is required for larger birds. Decapitation is conditionally acceptable for birds that are already anesthetized or unconscious. Thoracic Compression, or Rapid Cardiac Compression, is also conditionally acceptable for birds that are already anesthetized or unconscious.

The Canadian Council on Animal Care provides the only national oversight of animal-based scientific activities in Canada through a rigorous process of assessment and certification, and standards development and ensures that animals in science are used only when necessary, and that when they are, they receive optimal care according to high-quality, evidence-informed standards. The CCAC relies on more than 190 local animal care committees and other subcommittees and task forces, as well as a volunteer governing Board of Directors, nominated and elected by member organizations reflecting a wide range of interests, concerns, and objectives surrounding animal-based science in Canada.

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