HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 c1630W
Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has to improve protection for the(a) employees and (b) investors of companies which carry out medical research involving animals; and if she will make a statement. [186333]

Ms Hewitt

The Government are determined to tackle animal rights extremists who attempt to stop individuals and companies going about their legitimate business.

On 30 July, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, I announced a series of tough new measures which will help deal with the illegal activists who harass, threaten or physically attack those involved in vital, life-saving scientific research. Animal research has helped save hundreds of millions of lives, and is only carried out where absolutely necessary and under stringent controls. This research is subject to the strictest regulation: Britain has the most tightly controlled regime governing animal experiments in the world.

The new proposals strengthen on-going action by the Government, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to deal with criminal extremists and underline the Government's commitment to protecting the scientific community.