HC Deb 22 December 1997 vol 303 cc559-60W
Mrs. Humble

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many animals, of which species, have been used for military research under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 for(a) testing submarine escape mechanisms (b) training bomb disposal experts and (c) research into Gulf War Syndrome in the last five years; what is the nature of the procedures involved; and what is their severity rating. [22037]

Mr. George Howarth

Military research is not a category of work permissible under section 5(3) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. I understand, however, from the Ministry of Defence that the Environmental Sciences Department of Defence Evaluation and Research Agency carries out research aimed at providing the Royal Navy with advice on the safe pressure exposure limits for escape from a sunken submarine. The procedures used are exposure to altered environmental pressure and gaseous pressure and are of moderate severity. The species of animal used is the goat.

The number of animals used in the past five years is:

  • 1993: 44
  • 1994: 14
  • 1995: 10
  • 1996: 2
  • 1997: 17

No training with the Armed Forces which involves the experimental use of animals is undertaken. The Defence Animal Centre at Melton Mowbray trains animals for military duties, including dogs used for search and patrol duties. This training is not for scientific or experimental purposes and so is not regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. There has been no research involving the use of animals specifically directed at Gulf War illnesses.