HC Deb 02 August 1904 vol 139 cc517-8
MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the increase in the numbers of medical and surgical experiments performed on living animals, amounting to 19,084 in 1903, as compared with 14,906 in 1902, and 11,645 in 1901; and whether he intends to take any steps to limit the number.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) The increase pointed out by the hon. Member in the number of experiments in recent years is almost wholly in † See (4) Debates, cxxix., 1030 those included in Table IV. (B) of the Annual Return, i.e., Experiments of the nature of Simple Inoculations, Hypodermic Injections, and similar proceedings. It is pointed out on page 5 of the Return, that the increase is due mainly to the progressive importance attached to biological tests generally in practical medicine for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, and to the more widely recognised need for such experiments on the part of those responsible for the care of the public health. It may be added that over 3,000 of the experiments performed in 1903 were made for Government Departments, or for county or borough councils, and 1,313 were made for the Royal Commission on Tuberculosis. Every application for authority to perform experiments is carefully scrutinised, but I am not prepared to take action in the direction suggested.