§ 32. Mr. Coaker
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met members of the Animal Procedures Committee to discuss progress in reducing the numbers of experiments on animals. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
I met with members of the Committee on 9 December 1998. We discussed a number of issues including the need to ensure that animals are used only where fully justified: where the benefits outweigh the costs and where there are no alternatives. I would, however, refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) on 11 May 1998,Official Report, column 51—the effectiveness of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 cannot be judged by the overall number of procedures.