§ Mr. Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the purpose of the chemical burns experiments conducted on pigs at Porton Down; what measures have been taken to ensure their welfare is protected; and what involvement Salisbury District Hospital has had with these experiments. 
§ Dr. Moonie
[holding answer 10 November 2000]The primary role of DERA's Chemical and Biological Defence Sector at Porton Down is to provide safe and effective protective measures for the UK and its armed forces.
Sulphur mustard (mustard gas) remains a significant chemical threat both on the battlefield and from terrorists. The burns that result from contact with mustard heal extremely slowly and are prone to potentially life-threatening infection. The studies undertaken at CBD with pigs have conclusively shown that the technique of dermabrasion can significantly accelerate the healing of such burns and reduce the risk of infection. Staff at Porton Down are now confident that dermabrasion will help save lives and reduce the suffering in any future casualties.
To pursue these studies DERA employed the skills and experience of two plastic surgeons who had trained at the Burns Unit at Salisbury District Hospital. These surgeons were not working for the Salisbury Health Care Trust at the same time as they were undertaking this research and the trust was not itself involved in this particular research. All animal research is conducted under licence authorised by the Home Office. In addition to statutory controls, an independent body, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), reviews the arrangements for animal care and welfare at CBD, monitors the research programmes to ensure the highest possible standards and advises on best practice.
§ Dr. Moonie
[holding answer 10 November 2000]No formal cost/benefit analysis has been applied to the chemical burns experiments conducted at DERA's Chemical and Biological Defence Sector at Porton Down.
improve the rate of healing by three or fourfold. These techniques will be of significant benefit to service personnel and, more generally, to civilians, by 665W reducing the time currently spent in hospital recovering from the effects of burns form acids, alkalis and other corrosive chemicals suffered at home or in the work place.