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Scientific Procedures on Living Animals

Volume 514: debated on Tuesday 27 July 2010

The statistics of “Scientific Procedures on Living Animals—Great Britain—2009” (HC 317), was laid before the House today. Copies will be available in the Vote office.

This annual statistical report meets the requirement in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 to inform Parliament about the licensed use of animals for experimental or other scientific purposes. It also forms the basis for meeting periodic reporting requirements at EU level. Supplementary information with additional tables is also available on the Home Office website.

The statistical report shows an overall decrease of 36,540 (-1%) in the number of procedures started, from 3,656,080 in 2008 to 3,619,540 in 2009. This fall followed six previous annual increases and is the second highest total since the current method of recording was introduced in 1987. A number of factors, such as investment in research and development and strategic funding priorities, determine the overall level of scientific procedures.

The Home Office, as regulatory authority under the 1986 Act, ensures that its provisions are rigorously applied and only authorises work that is scientifically justified and minimises the numbers of animals used and the animal suffering that may be caused.

The statistical report and supplementary information can be found at:

http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk/animal-research/publications-and-reference/statistics/

I am also pleased to inform the House that I have today placed in the Library the annual report of the “Home Office Animals Scientific Procedures Division and Inspectorate” for the year 2009.

Publication of the report honours a commitment given in response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures in July 2002 that more information should be made available about the implementation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Earlier annual reports focused on the work of the Animals Scientific Procedures Inspectorate. The report for 2009 is the second in which the work of the Animals Scientific Procedures Division licensing and policy teams has also been included.

As in previous years, the report explains what Home Office inspectors do and how they do it and the inspectorate’s role in assessing and advising on applications for personal and project licences and certificates of designation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and reporting non-compliance.

The report also explains how the Animals Scientific Procedures Division and Inspectorate have continued to work towards delivering a better regulation programme to improve regulation of animal experimentation; reports on the successful outcome of the Hampton review of their regulatory performance conducted in 2009; and provides further information on the negotiation of a revised European Directive to replace European Union Directive 86/609/EEC on which the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is based.