HL Deb 30 January 1984 vol 447 cc542-3WA
Lord Houghton of Sowerby

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware that dogs and primates used for long-term experiments in many British laboratories have no facilities for exercise and/or play and what steps are being taken to meet the requirements of the draft European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes, Appendix "A"—Guidelines on Accommodation and Care of Animals, paragraph 3.10.1 of which states:

"It is advisable to take every possible opportunity to let animals take exercise".

Lord Elton

Under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, the primary responsibility for providing facilities rests with the laboratory itself and my right honourable and learned friend the Home Secretary's powers are limited. We understand that all dogs in long-term experiments receive exercise, even if they are not taken to separate indoor or outdoor runs. Providing exercise facilities for primates is more difficult but we encourage ways of making their environment more stimulating. While it is a matter of concern to my right honourable and learned friend that all laboratory animals should receive sufficient exercise to keep them in good condition, a number of factors such as experimental design, security, the danger of contracting infection or parasites or, with primates in particular, of fighting, may restrict the amount of exercise and play that animals enjoy. It will be the Government's intention to strengthen their powers in this respect in the legislation we have announced that we propose to introduce to modernise the 1876 Act.