Animal Experiments: Porton Down

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 13th May 2020.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice Team Member)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing females of a litter of triplets from the breeding programme of marmosets at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down and re-homing them to decrease the number of those animals that are euthanised.

Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The welfare of marmosets in the Dstl breeding programme is under constant review by veterinary staff, independent inspectors and the Dstl Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body.

In captivity, triplet marmoset litters are more frequent and some marmoset families are not able to rear triplets successfully. Optimal family group welfare is maintained where appropriate by euthanasia of some infants to reduce litter size. It would not be appropriate to re-home newly born triplet female marmoset infants away from their families as their physical and psychological welfare needs could not be met in these circumstances.

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