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Animals (Experimentation)

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what studies have been commissioned by his Department into the use of tissue culture in place of live animals for safety tests of drugs and chemicals;(2) what information his Department possesses about the use of trace element techniques to replace live animals in scientific experimentation;(3) what research has been commissioned by his Department into computerised clinical testing of drugs and chemicals for toxic effect in place of the use of live animals;(4) what information his Department possesses about X-ray or photographic techniques that can be used to eliminate the need for live animals in scientific experimentation.

The late Professor D. H. Smyth explained in his book "Alternatives to Animal Experiments" that evaluation of work to develop alternatives requires comparison of the new alternatives with existing methods using animals, and this involves the carrying out of a large number of animal experiments not directly aimed at solving any medical or scientific problem.My Department is aware of various nonsentient alternatives to the use of animals in certain experiments but has not commissioned studies of them. The attention of all licensees has been drawn to the importance of using alternative methods wherever these are available.