Defence: Animal Experiments

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals for warfare experiments in Porton Down and other facilities which engage in such testing.

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

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down, Wiltshire, is licensed by the Home Office to conduct the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) in-house research involving the use of animals.

The Home Office only allows testing if it is clear that the benefits outweigh the harms, and that the principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) have been fully taken into account and will be implemented.

Dstl operates in accordance with the principles of the 3Rs, and has an active programme to increase 3Rs implementation. For example, Dstl has developed an in-vitro method to measure the biological activity of anti-toxin medical countermeasures and has recently agreed with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency that our new tissue culture can replace animals in the future.

In 2015, Dstl was part of a five-organisation partnership with the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, which published a roadmap on developing and applying non-animal technologies (NATs) to improve the methods and ways of testing the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, veterinary products, chemicals, agrichemicals and consumer products.

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