The order came in response to the university’s repeated refusals to disclose information about its animal experiments to Stop UBC Animal Research, said Brian Aikens, the director of the organisation.
An attorney for the animal advocacy group said yesterday’s decision sent a clear message to UBC that it could no longer hide behind a veil of secrecy.
“We felt there were sufficient grounds to challenge UBC’s position that all documents concerning animal research were protected from disclosure,” said Lori Massini, an associate counsel at Roberts & Stahl, representing Stop UBC Animal Research.
“We achieved a small victory yesterday, and hope this will lead to increased transparency, which is in everyone’s interests.”
In his decision, OIPC adjudicator Jay Fedorak said UBC must release specific details about UBC’s animal experiments including:
1. Inspection reports conducted by Canadian Council on Animal Care, the body that oversees animal research
2. The source of non-human primates used at UBC to determine how the primates were acquired
3. Names and affiliations of members of the Animal Care Committee, which reviews animal experiments at UBC
Stop UBC Animal Research has waged a major campaign to expose UBC’s experiments on animals, including on cats, piglets, mice, monkeys, rabbits, and even endangered species. The group maintains that since much of the university’s research is funded by taxpayer dollars, the public has a right to know what UBC is doing to animals.
The organization has vowed to submit additional requests for information to the university.
“We were encouraged by some of the findings of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and intend to submit further requests for information citing different provisions of the Act.
“We feel there is more work to be done and will continue to work within the legal framework to achieve our goals.”