HC Deb 11 June 1997 vol 295 c482W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many monkeys died(a) during 1996 and (b) in 1997 to date in his Department's research establishments. [2396]

Mr. Spellar

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Mike Hancock, dated 11 June 1997: I have been asked to reply to your question about the number of monkeys which have died since 1996 in Ministry of Defence research establishments since as Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) this matter falls within my area of responsibility. An essential but relatively small part of the work of DERA involves a number of experiments with animals, mainly rodents, in order to ensure that the protective measures provided to the Armed Forces are effective and safe. I can assure you that all experimental work is carried out in accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. In compliance with this Act all animals used in scientific procedures are reported annually to the Home Office, the responsible authority for overseeing the implementation of provisions of the Act. The Home Office publish national annual statistics about the number of animal experiments in the UK in Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals in Great Britain. A very small number of non-human primates are used in essential DERA research work and a total of 14 monkeys were reported in the 1996 annual return to the Home Office as used in experiments and were, or will be, humanely killed in accordance with the provisions of the 1986 Act. The 1997 return has not yet been made. In recent years our figures have usually represented significantly less than 1% of the number of non-human primates reported as being used in scientific procedures.