§ Dr. Moonie
[holding answer 18 May 2000]: UK participation in Surgical Training Exercises in Denmark was suspended in 1998 and an internal review of MOD surgical training methods was set in hand. As a result of that review, an independent study by eminent representatives from appropriate fields was commissioned. They investigated the suitability and effectiveness of other training methods and witnessed a complete Surgical 291W Training Exercise. The study team were satisfied that the treatment of the animals was entirely humane and appropriate steps were taken to avoid suffering during all phases of the exercises. They could identify no equally effective alternative to the use of live animal models in order to prepare our surgical teams for the treatment of trauma under battlefield conditions. They concluded that to ensure the best possible treatment for injured Service personnel and civilians during conflict, it is entirely appropriate and necessary for our military surgical teams to resume participation in the Surgical Training Exercises. On the basis of this advice, we have decided that UK participation in the Danish Surgical Training Exercises should resume when we are invited.