HC Deb 28 June 1906 vol 159 cc1137-8
MR. G. GREENWOOD (Peterborough)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the fact that the recently issued Return of Experiments on Living Animals for the year 1905 shows an increase of no less than 5,373 of such experiments as compared with the Return for 1904; whether he knows any reason to account for this increase; and whether he can now say when the Commission to inquire into the matter of vivisection will be appointed, and what the terms of reference to such Commission will be.


My hon. friend will see from the Return that nearly the whole of the increase in the number of experiments—5,083 out of the total of 5,373—is accounted for by the additional inoculations, hypodermic injections, and feeding experiments which have been made. The increase is due to the greater importance attached to biological tests in practical medicine, and to the greater number of these experiments which are performed on behalf of local and other public authorities. With regard to the composition and terms of reference of the proposed Royal Commission, I hope to be able to make an announcement very shortly.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state why a change has been made in the form of the Return of Experiments on Living Animals, viz., that the recently issued Return for the year 1905 does not purport to distinguish, as did former Returns, between painless and painful experiments.


The change was made because it is found impracticable to make a separation between painful and painless experiments. In some cases it is impossible for anyone, even the operator or observer, to say whether pain is caused or not. It is, of course, important to ascertain and to indicate the extent to which pain is caused to animals by experiment, and the inspector's report, which precedes the Return, gives this information as far as possible with regard to particular classes of experiments.