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Animal Experiments: EC Law

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her policy is on EC Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes; what recent representations she has received on this Directive; if she will publish copies of the representations she has received, together with her replies; and if she will make a statement. (245067)

The requirements of European Union directive 86/609/EEC are implemented in United Kingdom law through the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The 1986 Act puts into effect, and in some ways exceeds, the requirements of directive 86/609/EEC and of Council of Europe Convention ETS 123.

I have received no recent formal representation.

A proposal for the revision of directive 86/609 has now been published and pending a formal public consultation to inform the Government's negotiating position my officials are undertaking a range of meetings with stakeholders including other Government Departments, users, funding bodies; and those with a special interest in alternatives, animal welfare and animal protection.

The UK Government supports the Commission's aims to harmonise the regulation of the use of animals for experimental and other scientific purposes across the European Union. In particular we support elements of the proposal that will promote high European animal welfare standards, and the development and use of alternative methods.

We believe that it is essential the regulation properly balances the protection of animals and the legitimate needs of science, industry and society, ensuring high quality scientific outputs while maintaining public confidence that animals do not suffer unnecessarily.

We will not support any unnecessary or disproportionate increase in the regulatory burden that would not further those objectives, or would damage the success, sustainability or competitiveness of the UK science base.