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Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many licences under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 were granted in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008 for research on non-human primates that included water deprivation as a permissible motivational tool; to which species of non-human primates such licences related; and for what reasons such licences are granted. (275416)

Under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, control of fluid intake is used to motivate monkeys so that they will perform extended sequences of behaviour in behavioural neuroscience experiments. The monkeys are trained to perform simple or complex tasks for which small amounts of a fluid, referred to as rewards or reinforcers, are used to motivate the animals and maintain behavioural or cognitive performance. The fluid control may involve limiting the time fluid is available, or may involve reducing the total amount fluid provided per day. Ultimately, thirst and the food reward for continuing the task, becomes a motivator for reliable performance.

The following table shows the number of licences granted from 2005 to date authorising fluid control procedure under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Number of licences granted authorising fluid control

Non-human primate species

2005

4

Macaques

2006

0

None

2007

3

Macaques

2008

2

1 Macaque, 1 Marmoset