Animal Experiments: Licensing

Home Office written question – answered at on 4 April 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Redfern Baroness Redfern Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to increase the fees for licences to use animals in scientific research, and (2) to seek to reduce the use of animals in such research.

Photo of Lord Sharpe of Epsom Lord Sharpe of Epsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government has laid a Statutory Instrument in parliament to increase the fees payable for licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) to come into effect on 6th April 2024.

The Government recently announced that it will double investment, from £10m to £20m per annum, in research to achieve the three Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement) and develop non-animal alternatives. The Government will also publish a plan to accelerate the development, validation and uptake of technologies and methods to reduce reliance on the use of animals in science.

The Government is committed to opportunities for reducing the use of animals in scientific research. Specifically, this Government has recently accepted the recommendations of the independent Animals in Science Committee to further restrict the use of the forced swim test and apply enhanced scrutiny to any proposal to use it in research. However, we intend to go further and have set an aim to completely eliminate its use, thus driving the development and validation of suitable alternatives (see: www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-on-the-use-of-the-forced-swim-test-letter-from-lord-sharpe/letter-from-lord-sharpe-of-epsom-responding-to-the-asc-forced-swim-test-report-accessible).

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