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Animal Experiments

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 129W, on animal experiments, what his timetable is for making the appointments. (156249)

I can confirm that a team has been appointed to examine the future of animal testing in support of a possible future submarine escape and rescue research programme. The team comprises a core group of six specialists supported by a number of independent external advisers. It is led by an ex-military scientist, qualified to postdoctorate level, supported by subject matter experts in defence related human physiology research, submarine design and operation, and law pertaining to the use of animals in scientific research. The group of external advisers includes leading academics in the field of human physiology.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hyperbaric experiments have been carried out on live goats since March 2007; what plans he has to commission future experiments; and if he will make a statement. (156604)

I can confirm that no hyperbaric experiments using goats have been conducted since March 2007.

A number of studies reviewing the need for further use of goats in this research programme are currently being undertaken. These studies take into account MOD’s duty of care to sustain the health and welfare of submarine crews and to provide them with the ability to operate safely and effectively. The teams are investigating a range of options for submarine escape and rescue, and life support, including and excluding animal experimentation.

Any plans to conduct further experiments using goats are subject to the findings of this review.