HL Deb 30 January 1979 vol 398 cc125-6WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) who authorised, and at what cost, the work undertaken by Mr. John M. Pearce in York University and described in Animal Learning amp; Behaviour1978 6(3), 341–345, and what addition to existing knowledge resulted from this series of experiments on "The Relationship between magnitude and passive avoidance learning" beyond the discovery that the results were consistent with those obtained from similar experiments conducted in the past on "the influence of shock magnitude on the rate at which rats learn to remain on a small platform to avoid (electric) shock"; and (b) when Her Majesty's Government propose to adopt the recommendation of the Littlewood Report of 18 years ago that experiments involving stress should be scrutinised by an Advisory Committee.


The work was started in the University of Sussex and continued in the University of York. Apart from authorisation by these universities Mr. Pearce held a licence and certificate under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876. The Government are unaware of the cost of the work and is not responsible for assessing the results. Experiments involving stress have been referred to the Advisory Committee when they have presented new questions of principle. The Committee will shortly be reconstituted and its functions will at the same time be reviewed.