Animal Experiments

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 2113 entitled Use of animals for warfare experiments.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Animal experiments at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down are conducted under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA) 1986 and are licensed by the Home Office. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not conduct animal experiments for the development or testing of offensive weapons, and the Home Office does not grant licences for these purposes. Dstl fully complies with the ASPA.

Animals are used in experiments for the development of new vaccines, treatments or medical procedures - results of the research using animals at Dstl Porton Down will not only save the lives of UK service personnel but can also benefit civilians. It is MOD policy that all medical products for use by service personnel are licensed in the same way as any other pharmaceutical drug. Dstl's remit to provide safe and effective countermeasures requires some testing in animals in order to meet regulatory requirements.

Dstl Porton Down currently uses less than half of one per cent of the total number of animals used in experimentation in the UK, and works to the animal welfare standards set out in the Guidance on the Operation of the ASPA, and the Code of Practice for the housing and care of animals bred, supplied or used for scientific purposes. Dstl has an active programme to minimise the use of animals in experiments, in accordance with the principles of the 3Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement).

It is not normal practice for the Government to respond to Early Day Motions unless an MP has secured a debate on the motion.

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