Vivisection

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1964.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham 12:00 am, 19th November 1964

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce regulations requiring animal dealers and pet shops who acquire animals for disposal to establishments practising vivisection to display a prominent notice in their establishments that they are engaged in this trade, and that all advertisements for animals intended for sale to laboratories shall carry a statement of this intention.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Legislation would be necessary to impose such requirements. My right hon. and learned Friend is awaiting the report of the Departmental Committee on Experiments on Animals, which is studying the question of the supply of experimental animals amongst other matters.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

In thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he does not agree that a declaration of intention concerning these animals should be made by pet shops which acquire them for vivisection purposes and that advertisements for animals—which are often misleading and imply that the animals are to be used as pets, whereas they are acquired by dealers entirely for vivisection—should have such a statement incorporated in them?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The hon. Member is well known in the House for his long and honourable interest in the welfare of animals, and I appreciate that he speaks with considerable authority. He will be pleased to know that the Committee is being invited to consider the suggestions which he has made and those which appeared in a recent article which disturbed a great many people.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

Will my hon. Friend request his right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to ask the Committee to speed up the report, because many of us, on all sides, are deeply disturbed about the implications of this subject?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I am aware that on all sides of the House there is anxiety about the well-being of these animals, and I will convey to my right hon. and learned Friend what my hon. Friend has said.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to examine the regulations governing vivisection, in view of the public disquiet at the continual yearly increase in the number of animals used.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

My right hon. and learned Friend proposes to review the controls over experiments on living animals when he receives the report of the Departmental Committee.

Photo of Sir Frederick Burden Sir Frederick Burden , Gillingham

Will the hon. Gentleman take note of the fact that in the last five years the number of experiments has risen by 700,000 and in the last year by 150,000? May I ask him, in association with his hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman), really to hurry the report and get something done about it? It must be hurried.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The Committee which is considering this matter has invited and received evidence from many of the interested bodies. It hopes to submit its report early next year and my right hon. and learned Friend will consider it at once.

Photo of Mr Frederic Bennett Mr Frederic Bennett , Torquay

Will the Joint Under-Secretary take into account that completely new legislation would not necessarily be essential at the beginning but that by very small amendments of the Pet Animals Act and the Animal Boarding Establishments Act some form of intermediate control could be introduced to improve the situation?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

We will consider that.