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Animal Welfare

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department operates to ensure that veterinary surgeons do not have conflicts of interest under section 6(5) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. (298323)

Section 3.19 of the guidance of the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (HC321) stipulates that when a named veterinary surgeon (NVS) has under any other statutory role under the terms of the 1986 Act a substantial interest in the scientific outcome of a programme of work, alternative provision should be made for the veterinary oversight of the animals in question.

Where the named veterinary surgeon holds a project licence, a different veterinary surgeon should be nominated to perform the duties of the named veterinary surgeon for that project.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether project licences issued under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 require the substances or products which may be tested on animals to be specified. (298337)

It is not Home Office practice to authorise individual studies. Instead, the relevant project licences permit the testing of specified classes of materials, such as medical and veterinary materials and chemicals, using specified methods, generally conducted according to international test guidelines. In addition the licences specify the checks that will be made about what is already known about the substance to be tested and the order in which the tests may be done. Other than in the case of vaccines or other biological materials requiring batch testing, such licences do not usually name each substance in a particular class.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether licensees are required to obtain the specific approval of his Department before testing a particular substance on animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. (298338)

Licensees are not required to obtain the specific approval of his Department before testing a particular substance on animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

It is not Home Office practice to authorise individual studies. Instead, the relevant project licences permit the testing of specified classes of materials, such as medical and veterinary materials and chemicals, using specified methods, generally conducted according to international test guidelines. In addition the licences specify the checks that will be made about what is already known about the substance to be tested and the order in which the tests may be done. Other than in the case of vaccines or other biological materials requiring batch testing, such licences do not usually name each substance in a particular class.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for project licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 he has rejected on the grounds that the procedures would cause severe pain or distress which cannot be alleviated in each year since 2004. (297978)

We do not hold the information requested. A feature of the regulatory regime under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is the discussion that often takes place at an early stage between applicants (or prospective applicants) and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate. When serious deficiencies are discovered with the proposals during these early discussions with the local inspectors, or within the establishments’ local ethical review processes, proposals unlikely to meet the Act’s stringent requirements are revised or withdrawn before formal refusal becomes necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department issues guidance on the use of live animals for the purposes of training in (a) cervical dislocation and (b) injecting procedures carried out under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. (297979)

Standard condition 17 for designated scientific procedure establishments in appendix B of the guidance of the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 stipulates that the certificate holder is responsible for assuring competence for a non-regulated procedure such as humane killings by methods listed in schedule 1 of the 1986 Act.

Section 3.12 of the guidance stipulates that the project licence holder must ensure that personal licensees working under their control are adequately supervised and trained and that regulated procedures such as injecting substances are competently performed in accordance with the project licence authorities.

The training framework for those with key responsibilities under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is set out in annex F of the guidance on the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Module 2 of the Animal Research Training Course provides training on humane methods of killing appropriate to the relevant species and on the job training provides practical skills which would include injection techniques. The Home Office has also issued a code of practice—The Humane Killing of Animals under Schedule 1 to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Only those with appropriate personal licence authorities may lawfully perform regulated procedures on protected animals and other than a limited range of specialist procedures project licences are not issued for training in manual skills.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bolton South East of 11 November 2003, Official Report, column 232W, on the Home Office, what steps he has taken to ensure that botulinium toxin tested on animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is not used off-label for cosmetic purposes. (297980)

The Government's position has not changed. Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 the Home Office grants licences for the testing on live animals of botulinium toxin for products licensed for clinical purposes as a prescription-only medicine.

The Home Office does not license the use of animals for the testing of cosmetic ingredients or products.

The off-label use of botulinium toxin products manufactured for therapeutic purposes is not a matter over which the Home Office has any control. Regulation of the uses made of health care products is a matter for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is an executive agency of the Department of Health.