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Animal Experiments

Volume 301: debated on Thursday 27 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the recommendations of the National Anti-Vivisection Society's report "Accountability—Animal Experiments and Freedom of Information"; and what steps he plans in response; [17775]

(2) if he will set out the procedures for (a) appointing members to and (b) reviewing the membership of the Animal Procedures Committee; if the Public Appointments Unit list is consulted; and if he will make a statement. [17777]

We will be meeting with representatives of the National Anti-Vivisection Society next week and expect to discuss a number of issues with them, including their Accountability report.Copies of the report have also been given to all members of the Animal Procedures Committee.Much of the report is taken up with criticism of the membership of the Animal Procedures Committee, the way new members are appointed and the ways in which the Committee works.The procedures for appointing members to the Committee have been reviewed in the light of the recommendations made by the Nolan Committee: We have recently written to a number of professional bodies, representative organisations and animal protection groups seeking nominations for new Committee members. The field of potential candidates will then be considered by an advisory panel.In deciding whom to appoint, the requirements set down in section 19 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1996 must be met and we must maintain the necessary breadth of expertise needed by the Committee. All appointments are announced publicly.We have no plans to review the current membership. The existing members do an excellent job and bring to the Committee a valued mix of skills and expertise. However, four members will complete their second (and final) term on the Committee at the end of the year and we will be making a number of new appointments shortly. We have already announced our intention to increase the number of animal welfare experts on the Committee.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many project licences, and for what projects, have been awarded which involve experimentation on monkeys at the Institute of Neurology in London since 1 January 1995. [17776]

Since 1 January 1995, no new licences under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 have been granted which authorise the use of primates at the Institute of Neurology.