HC Deb 15 November 1962 vol 667 cc555-6
27. Mr. Burden

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the first experiment took place in which animals were forced to inhale tobacco smoke; and how many animals were used in such experiments up to 30th September, 1962.

Mr. Woodhouse

I understand that the first experiments of this kind in this country were undertaken about six years ago. The statistics published in the annual return of experiments presented to the House show the total number of experiments performed in any year in the course of cancer investigation, but not the number of experiments of a particular kind.

Mr. Burden

Will my hon. Friend look into this matter again? The Americans have discontinued these experiments, because it has been impossible to induce animals to contract cancer. Experiments here have had the same effect. In view of this fact, is it not time that these experiments were discontinued? What would be gained, anyhow, by establishing the fact that an animal can be given cancer by inhaling tobacco smoke, when, according to medical statistics, it is known that human beings can do so?

Mr. Woodhouse

I am aware of my hon. Friend's concern in this matter, but it is not possible for the Home Secretary to be made responsible for saying that further experiments of this kind would not lead to new knowledge of the the kind covered by the 1876 Act. It is not for the Home Secretary to adjudicate on the usefulness of a particular piece of research. It is a subject on which he takes advice from very eminent scientific and medical men.