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Animal Experiments

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of experiments carried out on animals at (a) Porton Down and (b) other DERA establishments in 1995 would now be prohibited by the Government's announced ban on weapons testing. [16454]

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Norman Baker, dated 19 November 1997:

I have been asked to respond to your question about experiments carried out by DERA for the purpose of weapons testing.
DERA does not use animals to develop or evaluate weapons. All experiments undertaken by DERA for the Ministry of Defence involving the use of animals are concerned with the safety and protection of the UK Armed Forces.
I hope this is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by category the experiments carried out on animals at (a) Porton Down and (b) other DERA establishments in 1995. [16455]

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Norman Baker, dated 19 November 1997:

I have been asked to respond to your question about the category of experiments involving animals within DERA.
Within DERA, two areas hold Home Office Project Licences to carry out tests on animals, the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector (CBD) at Porton Down and the Environmental Sciences Department at Alverstoke. In 1995 CBD held thirty five Home Office Project Licences for animal experimentation, of which six were classified as substantial, twenty as moderate, five as mild and four as unclassified. The Environmental Sciences Department held one project licence classified as moderate.
I hope this information is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) viruses, (b) bacteria and (c) other pathogens tested on animals in (i) Porton Down and (ii) other DERA establishments in 1995. [16456]

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Norman Baker, dated 19 November 1997:

I have been asked to respond to your question about viruses, bacteria and other pathogens tested on animals in DERA establishments.
DERA does not test viruses, bacteria or other pathogens on animals for any offensive purposes. All experiments undertaken by DERA for the Ministry of Defence involving the use of animals are concerned with the safety and protection of the UK Armed Forces.
The research programme carried out by the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector (CBD) at Porton Down does include work on new or improved vaccines and medical countermeasures. It would not be in the interest of national security to release details of the specific microganisms involved in this research programme.
I am sorry I cannot be more helpful on this occasion.