§ Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines his Department issues for experimentation on non-human primates in order to improve cures to illnesses shared by primates and humans; and what plans he has to introduce alternatives to the use of primates in medical research. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, no animals can be used in scientific procedures if alternatives are available and primates can only be used if no other species are suitable576W and readily obtainable. Every effort will continue to be required to minimise primate use and find alternatives where practicable. The United Kingdom legislation regulating animal experiments is widely regarded as the toughest in the world. The Government's policy is never to allow the use of great apes.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has established the Centre for Best Practice for Animals in Research (CBPAR) as part of its continuing commitment to high standards in laboratory animal use and welfare. Following consultation with vets, scientists, experts in primate welfare, and animal welfare organisations, CBPAR has developed guidelines on best practice in the accommodation and care of primates used in scientific procedures. These guidelines have now been published and will shortly be available on the MRC website at www.mrc.ac.uk.