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Animal Experiments

Volume 181: debated on Wednesday 28 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list Government expenditure in each of the last five years on funding alternatives to the use of animals in scientific procedures, with the projects supported in each year.

The Home Office has been involved in funding research into finding alternatives to the use of living animals since 1984 when financial assistance was provided to two organisations concerned with animals in research. Some £185,000 was given to the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments—FRAME—to help with three projects: a feasibility study of validation of in vitro techniques which might replace animal experiments; work on a possible database of tissue culture techniques; and an examination of the use of human tissue cultures instead of animals in medical research and toxicity testing. Some £30,000 was given to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare—UFAW—to support an evaluation of the effects of various cage sizes and social groupings on the well-being of laboratory rats.With the passing of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the Home Office established a scheme which is administered by a sub-committee of the Animal Procedures Committee to provide financial assistance for research for the reduction, refinement or replacement of the use of living animals in scientific procedures. The Home Office also funds research concerned with the welfare of laboratory animals. The Home Office has also supported, and part-funded, international work on acute toxicity testing aimed at further reducing the need for formal LD50 tests.In 1988–89, the first year of the operation of the scheme, it was decided to fund the following four projects:

  • (i) Dr. P. A. Botham and Dr. G. J. A. Oliver, ICI Central Toxicology Laboratory. "Validation of an enucleated eye model" (£26,700 over two years)
  • (ii) Dr. A. F. Bristow and Dr. S. Poole, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. "Assay of Pyrogens measuring lymphokine production in vitro". (£72,700) over three years)
  • (iii) Dr. A. Robinson, Public Health Laboratory Service "Alternative potency tests for cellular pertussis). (£9,800 over three years).
  • (iv) Dr. R. M. Stagg, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Scotland. "Fish cell culture for toxicity assessment". (£25,700 over two years)
  • In 1989–90 it was decided to fund the following projects:

  • (i) Dr. M. E. G. Boursell, AFRC Institute for Animal Health. "Recombinant vaccine against infectious bursa! disease virus". (£67,700 over three years)
  • (ii) Dr. M. Fergusson, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. "The use of in vitro assays for the potency of rabies vaccines". (£10,000 over two years)
  • (iii) Mr. A. Knight, Wellcome Research Laboratories. "A replacement for the clostridium chauvoei vaccine potency test". (£67,000) over three years)
  • (iv) Professor D. B. Morton, University of Birmingham. "Evaluation of welfare in the husbandry of laboratory rabbits". (£59,900 over three years)
  • In 1990–91 one further project has been funded:

    Dr. D. E. S. Stewart-Tull, University of Glasgow. "Establishment of an adjuvants (immunomodulating agents) database" (0,200) over two years)

    In addition, on the advice of the Animal Procedures Committee's research sub-committee, the Home Office commissioned a report of an investigation into antibody production: this report formed the basis for appendix III of the "Report of the Animal Procedures Committee for 1989"—HC581; 24 July 1990.

    In 1991–92, subject to parliamentary approval, the Home Office is making available £215,000 to assist research in this area. The Animal Procedures Committee is now seeking worth while projects for funding in the next financial year.