HC Deb 13 November 2001 vol 374 cc645-6W
Vera Baird

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish a royal commission into vivisection. [13672]

Angela Eagle

The Government have not ruled out a royal commission, but strongly believe that resources can best be used to make immediate improvements to the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and to promote the fullest application of the 3Rs—the replacement of the use of animals with alternative methods; the reduction of the numbers of animals used; and the refinement of the procedures to minimise pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.

In this context, the Animal Procedures Committee issued a public consultation paper in December 2000 as part of its review of the cost-benefit assessment of applications for authority to conduct scientific research using animals. As part of this work, the Committee plans to produce an authoritative statement on the validity of animal experiments. I understand that the Committee hopes to present its report in the first half of 2002.

The House of Lords have established a Select Committee on the validity of the use of animals in scientific procedures and its work is under way.