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Research (Departmental Support)

Volume 24: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what support his Department is giving to research into developing alternatives to scientific experimentation on animals.

My Department's responsibilities for the support of scientific research are discharged by the research councils, which receive grants-in-aid from the science budget, and by the universities, which receive block grants for teaching and research from the University Grants Committee. Scientific research does not include the routine testing of cosmetics, pharma ceutical agents and other toxic substances; such testing is not carried out by these bodies.The research councils feel that in general it is not practicable to search for alternatives to the use of live animals in isolation from the individual experiments in which the animals are used. However, council research workers and those supported by council grants lire encouraged in their individual experiments, to use procedures which do not involve animals, and where such use would not give scientifically valid results, to minimise the use of animals. I understand that a similar approach is taken by the universities.