§ Phil Sawford
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many animals have been used in scientific procedures in each of the last 10 years; and what action he is taking to reduce these numbers; 868W
(2) what action he is taking (a) to reduce the numbers of animals used in scientific procedures and (b) to encourage the use of alternatives; 
(3) what action he is taking to ensure that the use of animals in scientific experiments is restricted to those experiments where no alternative methods are available. 
§ Caroline Flint
The number of animals used in scientific procedures in Great Britain in each of the last ten years for which figures are available is as follows:
Number 1993 2,759,940 1994 2,772,758 1995 2,637,847 1996 2,646,026 1997 2,573,088 1998 2,593,587 1999 2,569,295 2000 2,642,993 2001 2,567,713 2002 2,655,876
Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the Home Office can only license the use of animals for scientific purposes where there is no non-animal alternative, and then only when both the number of animals to he used and any resulting suffering is minimised. This reflects the principles of the 3Rs—the refinement of scientific procedures, the reduction of the number of animals used and their replacement with other methods wherever possible. However, as a demand-led regulator working on a case-by-case basis, we have no control over the total amount of research taking place. That is determined by a number of factors, including the economic climate and global trends in scientific endeavour.
It is essential that we continue to regulate effectively. We must also continue to apply fully the 3Rs, and to support and encourage their development and promotion. We do this in a number of ways. For example, all applications are subjected to scrutiny within institutional local ethical review processes at licensed establishments, and are also assessed separately by Home Office Inspectors, who are all either medical or veterinary graduates, to ensure that no relevant replacement, reduction or refinement measure has been overlooked.
We are also currently exploring the recommendation by the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures that there should be a United Kingdom centre for research into the 3Rs. This is being considered by the Inter-Departmental Group on the 3Rs, led by the Home Office and also comprising officials from the Department of Health, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Office of Science and Technology, the Food Standards Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and other agencies. The Inter-Departmental Group is also reviewing the effectiveness of the Inter-Departmental Data Sharing Concordat announced in August 2000, which commits United Kingdom regulatory authorities to help resolve legal and other obstacles and encourages 869W data sharing between clients to reduce animal testing. The Inter-Departmental Group will report back to me on both of these issues shortly.
In addition, every year the Home Office makes available to the Animal Procedures Committee a budget aimed at developing or promoting the 3Rs. The amount made available to the Committee for 2003–2004 for this specific purpose is £280,000. Work aimed at improving the environmental conditions in which laboratory animals are kept and transported has also been sponsored. This is not the only money spent by Government on the 3Rs. We estimate that Government Departments, agencies and funding bodies spend up to £10 million each year on such research. Industry spends a great deal more.
On an international level, the United Kingdom Government supports the European Centre for the Validation of Alternatives Methods (ECVAM) through contributions to the European Union. It is the task of ECVAM to monitor and co-ordinate research into alternatives and to develop the processes of validation, that is, the assessment of alternative methods to see whether they are reliable and whether they produce a level of information similar to the animal based tests they are to replace.
This is not, however, an area where quick gains can be expected. In the longer term, we believe that further significant reduction in animal use will, and must, continue to rely largely on the scientific community's own efforts to develop, validate and adopt more advanced methods based on the 3Rs.
§ Phil Sawford
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are implemented in establishments using animals to carry out scientific procedures. 
§ Caroline Flint
The Government are fully committed to the effective and efficient implementation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 which makes provision for the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes while recognising the need to use animals in medical research, the development of new medicines, and scientific testing.
Under the 1986 Act, both personal and project licences are required. These ensure that those doing the work are qualified and suitable; that alternatives to animals are used wherever possible; that the number of animals used is minimised; and that any suffering or other harmful effects experienced by the animals have been weighed against the potential benefits (to humans or animals) and have been minimised.
In addition, work can only be carried out at designated establishments which have suitable veterinary and animal welfare personnel and the standards of accommodation and care provided for the animals must meet or surpass the provisions of Home Office codes of practice. Under the Act, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate is charged with inspecting designated places to monitor compliance with these codes of practice and the licence authorities. About 2,500 inspections are made annually of which 870W two thirds are made without notice. The number of visits made to each establishment during the year is determined by its size and the type of work carried out.
§ Lady Hermon
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money has been made available to the Animal Procedures Committee in each year since 1997 specifically aimed at(a) developing and (b) promoting alternatives to animal experimentation; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Caroline Flint
Since the financial year 1988–89, the Home Office has made available to the Animal Procedures Committee a budget for the development and promotion of alternatives which replace animal use, reduce the number of animals used, or refine the procedures involved to minimise suffering (the 3Rs). Work aimed at improving the environmental conditions in which laboratory animals are kept and transported has also been sponsored. Details of completed research are published in the Annual Reports of the Animal Procedures Committee, which are available from The Stationery Office and, for recent years, on the Committee's website.
The Committee seeks to allocate 60 per cent. of the budgets provided on research into reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in scientific procedures and another 20 per cent. on the development and promotion of awareness and use of alternatives. The Committee seeks to allocate the remaining 20 per cent. to research into the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
The budget provided to the Committee for these purposes in each year since 1997–98 was:
£ 1997–98 242,000 1998–99 182,000 1999–2000 259,000 2000–01 259,000 2001–02 265,000 2002–03 280,000 2003–04 280,000