Animal Experiments: Licensing

Home Office written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to enable interested parties to have access to appropriately redacted Project Licence applications made under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prior to approval being given for consultation on scientific and animal welfare grounds; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Minister of State, Home Department

There are currently no plans to enable third parties to have access to redacted project licence applications made under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 prior to approval.

The Government only authorises procedures on animals after rigorous checks. Under the 1986 Act there is a statutory requirement for scrutiny by, in the first instance, the Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body at the Establishment where the work will be performed, and then an assessment is made by the Home Office Inspectorate. The Animals in Science Committee may also be asked for advice on specific applications.

The Inspector’s assessment of an application will include a rigorous harm / benefit analysis which requires access to all of the information in an

application. This will take into consideration discussions held with the applicant and knowledge of the establishment where the work will take place.

Inspectors use criteria such as the proposed scientific methodology, the resources available to the applicant and their track record with regard to

publications and animal use, to determine how likely the benefits are to be delivered. This would form part of the information which may subsequently be redacted.

Inspectors may also seek further information either from the applicant, from the scientific literature or from specialist knowledge within the Inspectorate to understand the context and the value of those benefits.

As a consequence the Inspectorate and, when appropriate, the Animals in Science Committee are the only bodies who can advise the Secretary of State on whether, and on what terms, the work should be authorised.

In the interests of openness and transparency, and to aid public understanding the Home Office publicly committed to publish details of the investigation and outcome of substantial investigations into compliance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The first three reports were published on 2 October 2014, and further reports will be published as set out in our publications policy. The reports can be found at;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compliance-investigations-by-the-animals-in-science-regulation-unit

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