asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will publish the fourth report of the Animal Advisory Committee on the use of animals in defence research. [HL3904]
§ Baroness Symons of Venham Dean
The Independent Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, chaired by Dr Jeremy Lucke, has published its fourth annual report. The committee was set up in 1996 specifically to keep under review the care and welfare arrangements of animals used in defence research. We are placing a copy of the report in the Library of the House.
The use of animals in defence research is concerned with providing the Armed Forces with safe and effective protection against hazards encountered while conducting their duties, and is kept to the absolute minimum.
The committee's report highlights the work being done by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency to ensure the welfare of all animals used for defence research purposes. The report provides assurances that all animals used in defence research programmes in the UK are regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The report also concludes that there is an effective ethical review process for the application of new licences which examines, amongst other issues, whether the use of animals can be avoided altogether in any new research procedures.
The Ministry of Defence continues to seek to find alternatives to the use of animals wherever possible. There is still much to be done in developing technologies that allow the use of animals in experiments to be further reduced. We welcome continuing scrutiny by the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and aim to minimise the use of animals as far as possible, against the continuing requirement to research effective measures to counter the hazards faced by the Armed Forces in the conduct of their duties.