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Animal Experiments

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) larvae, (b) embryos and (c) foetuses were used in animal scientific procedures in each of the last three years. (255484)

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 protects animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. Protected animals include immature vertebrate animals, in the case of a mammal, bird or reptile from halfway through gestation or incubation and in any other case, including immature forms of Octopus vulgaris, when they become capable of independent feeding.

We have no reliable data from which to estimate the numbers of immature forms used during the period in question. For the purpose of the annual statistical report of animal use project licence holders are required to declare if immature forms have been used, but not to provide estimates of the numbers used. This is because, in the case of some immature forms, such as fish fry, it is impossible to count and record accurately the numbers used for work licensed under the Act.

I would refer the hon. Member to that document.