HL Deb 25 March 1980 vol 407 cc781-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What grant had been made by the DHSS to Shamrock Farms Gt. Britain Ltd.; or to Shamrock Farms Gt. Britain Ltd. Veterinary Investigation Labora- tory for the purpose of developing a Primate Breeding Colony; and whether any part of that grant was used in experiments in which twenty-two crab-eating Macacques were permitted to freeze to death (" Primate Supply"4 No. 2, pp. 25/26).


No grant has been or is being made to Shamrock Farms (Great Britain) Ltd.; by the Department of Health and Social Security. This company has, however, been commissioned by the Department to set up and oversee a domestic monkey breeding scheme to produce sufficient young home-bred cynomolgus monkeys to satisfy the requirement of the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control for essential testing of polio vaccine.

The monkeys referred to in "Primate Supply" 4, No. 2, pp. 25/26, were the property of Shamrock Farms Great Britain Ltd. It is understood that the loss of these 22 cynomolgus monkeys occurred in the course of testing different ways of accommodating them and that there was no intention of risking killing valuable animals. The purpose of the firm's published report was to alert others to the risk of deaths in the stated conditions.

The substance mentioned in the majority of these cases was "Weedol", a compound of diquat and paraquat. There were two deaths, one in 1973 and one in 1974, where the substance mentioned was an unnamed compound of diquat and paraquat.