Catherine Schuppli joined the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics as a postdoctoral fellow (04-06) in CIHR’s Ethics of Health Research and Policy Training Program. She received and Honours BSc in zoology from the University of Guelph, a MSc in zoology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in animal welfare from the University of British Columbia.

Catherine has had a long fascination with animals. After growing up as a teenager in Tanzania, where holidays were spent in the Serengeti, her fascination with wildlife lead her to study zoology. Her research career began with summer jobs and graduate studies, leading her to study many wild and domesticated species of animals in far away corners of Canada and the world. As a result she has had a longstanding interest in the role of animals in society and the way in which animals are used, treated, protected, and managed, with a concern for improving their lives.

I am interested in ethical issues surrounding the use of animals in society – in research, agriculture, and as companion animals – and in particular, how we govern their use. I am also interested in understanding our relationship with animals, how this is shaped by culture and how these influence animal welfare. Research specialties include qualitative animal welfare research, research ethics, and animal biology.

My current research focuses on 3 areas: 1) I am a co-applicant on a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada 3 year research grant which funds a novel study that examines the various values, beliefs, attitudes, and concerns regarding farm animal welfare that are present among the different stakeholders and segments of the Canadian public (farmers, urban and rural consumers, and animal advocate association members). The results will provide a basis for more satisfactory national, international and corporate policy, 2) I am a collaborator on a project examining public attitudes towards the use of animals in genomics research, funded by Genome Canada and 3) I am a collaborator in a project that is examining the meaning and experience of being a human subject in health research, funded by CIHR.

My PhD research was one of the first empirical studies carried out internationally that examined ACC practice and function. Methods included both participant observations of 4 Canadian ACCs as well as one-on-one interviews with ACC members. This research has provided invaluable insight about the governance of animals used in research in Canada as well as resulted in recommendations for improving policy and practice.

I was a member of the University of British Columbia Animal Care Committee from 09/2000 to 04/2003. I attended 28 full committee meetings (reviewed an average of 250 protocol applications per year) and 3 sub-committee meetings used to evaluate and recommend amendments for ethically contentious biomedical protocols, and I participated in 28 animal facility site visits by the ACC, including 3 Canadian Council on Animal Care site assessments.

I was contracted by the National Council on Ethics in Human Research (NCEHR) to review and analyse surveys and site visit reports of 55 Canadian university and hospital REBs collected as part of NCEHR’s site-visit process. Special consideration was given to the implementation of the Tri-Council Policy Statement. I also created a national NCEHR computer database for organization of data from surveys and site visits. This database will also be used in future data collection and syntheses.

Schuppli, CA and Fraser D 2006. Improving the effectiveness of Research Ethics Committees. Journal of Medical Ethics (accepted)

Schuppli, CA. and McDonald, M. 2005. Contrasting modes of governance for the protection of humans and animals in Canada: lessons for reform. Health Law Review, Special Issue on Governance of Humans Involved in Research in Canada. 13 (2 & 3): 97-106 [PDF]

Schuppli, CA, Fraser, D. 2005. The Interpretation and application of the Three Rs by Animal Ethics Committee members. Alternatives to Laboratory Animals 33:487-500 [PDF]

Schuppli, CA., Fraser, D. and McDonald, M. 2004. Expanding the Three Rs to meet new challenges in humane animal experimentation. Alternatives to Laboratory Animals 32: 525-532 [PDF]

Schuppli, CA 2004.The Role of the Animal Ethics Committee in Achieving Humane Animal Experimentation. PhD Thesis, University of British Columbia pp. 162

Schuppli, CA. and Fraser, D. 2000. A framework for assessing the suitability of different species as companion animals. Animal Welfare 9:359-372.

Schuppli, CA. 1999. Report and Recommended Actions for Humane Angling in Canada. Report written for the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada 24 pp.