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Animal Experiments: Licensing

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to applicants is of a licence to conduct animal experiments under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; how the monies raised from this are spent; what proportion is spent on funding research into non-animal methods; and if she will increase this fee in order to increase financial support for research into non-animal methods. (149948)

Under section 8 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, holders of certificates of designation under section 6 or 7 of the 1986 Act are required to pay such periodical fees as may be prescribed or determined. A composite fee is currently charged, comprising of an annual fee for the certificate of designation and an annual fee for each personal licensee with primary availability at the establishment. No fee is levied with respect to project licences.

The current fees are: certificate of designation, scientific procedures establishment: £252; certificate of designation, breeding and/or supplying establishment: £1,130; personal licence: £226.

The fees are collected in arrears to cover the costs of operating the 1986 Act. These are, primarily, the staff and running costs of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate, the administrative staff running the licensing operation and the Animal Procedures Committee. Fee income is not currently used to provide financial support for research into non-animal methods and we have no plans to increase them for this purpose.

We announced on 21 May 2004, Official Report, column 69WS, that the Home Office would transfer its separately-funded budget for research into the reduction, replacement and refinement of animal experimentation (the 3Rs) to the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) once pre-existing commitments had been honoured. Accordingly, the Home Office contributed £35,000, £125,000 and £250,000 to the funding of the centre in financial years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07, respectively.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research is an independent organisation, funded by Government, research councils and industry, reporting to the Minister for Science and Innovation, and provides a United Kingdom focus for the promotion, development and implementation of the 3Rs in animal research and testing. The centre funds high-quality 3Rs research and facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, the identification of knowledge gaps, and the translation of research findings into practice to benefit both animals and science.