HL Deb 07 February 1979 vol 398 cc815-6WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Medical Research Council controls or gives financial aid to laboratories outside the United Kingdom where living animals are used for experiments and, if so, whether such aid is conditional upon the laboratories concerned agreeing to comply with the provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876.

The MINISTER of STATE, DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge)

The Medical Research Council has laboratories in The Gambia and at the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, Port of Spain, Trinidad, where animals are used. It imposes conditions of service which require those who work on animals there to be mindful of their moral responsibility to justify their actions and of their duty to limit pain and give proper care. They are asked to use, wherever possible, procedures which do not involve animals or, where this is not possible, to use the minimum number of animals that will give valid results. All general or local regulations related to the use of animals in the two countries must be observed. The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 relates to the United Kingdom only and could not be observed overseas but, in the course of their regular visits to the two laboratories to assess work and progress, members of the Council's Tropical Medicine Research Board keep in mind that the standards applicable to the use of animals in the United Kingdom should be maintained.