§ 18. Mr. Sydney Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Home Office return of experiments performed under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 in respect of experiments performed during 1972, in comparison with the statistics for 1970 and 1971.
§ Mr. Chapman
I welcome the reduction of 300,000 in the number of experiments on animals in the last year. Nevertheless, does my hon. Friend realise that over 5¼ million experiments were conducted and that 86 per cent. of the animals involved were not given anaesthetics? Although a certain number of experiments on animals may be necessary, does not my hon. Friend feel that 5¼ million is far too high a figure?
§ Mr. Lane
I know that there are strong feelings on this matter. A figure of 5 million experiments is large, but we must keep the matter in perspective and appreciate the benefits obtained, both by human beings and by animals, from these experiments. The system is administered with strong safeguards, which we watch all the time. The declining trend is welcome.
§ Mr. Burden
Will my hon. Friend ask the Home Secretary to take into consideration the fact that the Act of Parliament governing vivisection is almost 100 years old and that the conditions envisaged in that legislation are quite different from those which obtain today? Is it not time that this matter was looked at again and the legislation brought up to date?