HC Deb 24 July 1899 vol 75 cc74-5
MR. PAULTON (Durham, Bishop Auckland)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state what rules are laid down with regard to the granting or signing of certificates dispensing with the use of anæsthetics in vivisection experiments; whether there is any limit to the number of such certificates which one person may sign, or to the number of experiments upon different animals which may be performed by the person holding one such certificate; whether the Home Office authorises or allows certificates to be signed by the operator himself on his own behalf; whether Dr. Poore, whilst holding the office of inspector, has signed certificates in his capacity of professor of medical jurisprudence in University College, London; and whether there is any regulation requiring that the dates shall be specified for the performance of experiments under the various certificates dispensing with the use of anæsthetics, in order that the Home Office inspector may have knowledge of the time and place at which any experiment on living animals is to be performed.


All the conditions which are attached to the signing of the certificates mentioned in the first paragraph of the question are laid down by law, viz., Sections 11 and 12 of the Act of 1876. There is no limit to the number of certificates which an authorised person may sign; and the law places no limit on the number of experiments which may be performed under one certificate but it is the practice of the Home Office, in addition to the fact that all certificates expire on the 31st December of the year in which they are granted, to limit the number, and this is always done in the case of serious experiments in which the use of anæsthetics is wholly or partly dispensed with. The possibility indicated in the third paragraph would be directly contrary to the proviso in Section 11 of the Act. The answers to the last two paragraphs are in the negative.


Does Professor Poore sign the certificates?


I am informed that it is not the case that he does so.


Then how is it that the statement appears in the Report of the Inspector? Will the right hon. Gentleman further inquire as to its accuracy?


Yes. I was only aware five minutes ago that the Report Seemed to indicate this, and, of course, I have not had time to inquire.