Animal Experiments: Porton Down

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 2nd June 2021.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many experiments were conducted on animals by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on behalf of his Department in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

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

Animal experiments are regulated by the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). Under ASPA, "animal experiments" are referred to as "scientific procedures". In accordance with ASPA, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) makes an annual report of scientific procedures to the Home Office.

The numbers of scientific procedures using animals conducted at Dstl in 2019 was 1,500 and in 2020 the figure was 1,194.

Animal experiments at present remain a necessary part of Defence research and enable Dstl to develop protective measures for the UK and its Armed Forces that save lives. Examples of protective measures are vaccines and treatments that prevent or reduce the effects of exposure to chemical and biological agents and treatments for traumatic injuries. Dstl does not conduct animal experiments for the development or testing of offensive weapons and the Home Office does not grant licences for these purposes.

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