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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research has been conducted by or on behalf of his Department into the application of results of military research on animals to draw conclusions about the effects on humans; and if he will publish this research.
Column 852shown that there is no adequate substitute and where it is judged essential to use animals for this purpose. In the context of the work at CBDE Porton Down, which accounts for the majority of the animal experiments carried out by the MOD, it is important to recognise that as there is no group suffering from chemical or biological warfare agents in the population at large, the effectiveness of medical counter- measures cannot be evaluated, unlike drugs developed against naturally occurring illness or disease, using human beings. It is consequently necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of medical counter-measures against chemical and biological weapons using the most appropriate animal model for man. This work is published as appropriate in the scientific literature. In addition, studies of the interaction of drugs with animals have been compared with the interaction of the same drugs in man and a common mechanism has been established. Work on submarine and aircrew safety has been successfully applied to humans and the results published. Work has also been undertaken to compare the relative mechanical properties of human and animal tissue, and has been presented to scientific conferences and published in the scientific literature. Computer models to predict the response of the human torso to impact and blast injury are also being developed.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has commissioned or undertaken into the effectiveness and necessity of using live animals for testing military equipment.
Mr. Freeman: No animals are used to improve weapons or ammunition or to practise surgery. All MOD experimental work with animals is subject to the conditions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and related legislation. Before any project involving animals is begun, a project licence must be granted by the Home Office as a critical part of the project licence application is a closely argued justification of the proposed use of animals considering the ethical and scientific issues. At each stage, the use of non-animal alternatives has to be considered and the licence is only granted where no alternatives are possible. Alternatives to the use of animals are used whenever possible. Some such methods have been developed and published in the scientific literature.
In some cases, in vitro methods which do not use living animals have been shown to be scientifically superior.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many experiments by or on behalf of his Department have involved the use of live pigs in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many pigs were (a) involved and (b) killed in each year.
1989 : 54
1990 : 86
1991 : 102
1992 : 132
1993 : 109
At the end of each experiment, the pig was humanely killed in accordance with the conditions of the project licence issued by the Home Office.
Column 853research on unconscious animals to draw conclusions about their effect on conscious humans; and if he will publish this research.
Mr. Freeman: No animals are used to improve weapons or ammunition or to practise surgery. Work has been undertaken to compare the relative mechanical properties of human and animal tissue, and has been presented to scientific conferences. Computer models to predict the response of the human torso to impact and blast injury are also being developed.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of animals used for the testing of military equipment by or on behalf of his Department are killed while still under anaesthetic.
Mr. Freeman: No animals are used to improve weapons or ammunition or to practise surgery. The total number of experiments involving animals in 1993 that were reportable to the Home Office under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was 6,796. Around 6.5 per cent. of the animals involved were killed while under anaesthetic. All other animals were put down humanely in accordance with the Act.
Mr. Freeman: All research carried out by the MOD using animals is carried out under the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The number of animal experiments reportable to the Home Office in each of the last 10 years was as follows: 1984: 10,941
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many experiments (a) involving animals, (b) leading to the death of an animal and (c) causing injury to an animal were carried out at Porton Down in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Graham S. Pearson to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 2 February 1995 :
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking how many experiments (a) involving animals, (b) leading to the death of an animal and (c) causing injury to an animal were carried out at Porton Down in each of the last five years, and if he will make a statement has been passed to me to answer as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. The role of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment is to carry out work to ensure that the UK Armed Forces are provided with effective protective measures against the threat that chemical and biological weapons may be used against them.
3. It is an essential but relatively small part of the work of CBDE that a small number of experiments with animals, mainly mice, rats and guinea-pigs are carried out in order to ensure that the protective measures provided to the Armed Forces are effective and are safe.
Column 854No animals are used to practice surgery or in work to improve weapons or ammunition performance. The number of animal experiments reported to the Home Office in each of the last five years was as follows:
In accordance with the conditions of the Project Licences issued by the Home Office, all animals were humanely killed at the completion of the experiments. The Project Licences currently in effect at CBDE cover mild 7, moderate 14, substantial 4 and unclassified 1.
4. It should be recognised that the total number of all animal experiments carried out at CBDE in any one year is less than one half of one percent of all the animal experiments conducted in the United Kingdom. Indeed the number of animal experiments at CBDE has dropped over the past decade. However, the number of experiments carried out in any one year will vary according to the MOD programme. It was recognised during and after the Gulf War that there was an increasing potential biological warfare threat and that it is necessary to strengthen the UK's biological defence capability. This has required the use of more animals.
5. The United Kingdom does not possess chemical or biological weapons and abandoned its capability relating to such weapons in the late 1950s. Consequently, there is absolutely no use of animals to develop or improve chemical or biological weapons. We have to recognise, however, that a number of countries do possess such weapons and it is essential that our Armed Forces are provided with adequate protection against their use and against the use of biological weapons. There is evidence of proliferation around the world in the availability of such weapons and the recent hostilities in the Gulf have demonstrated the reality of that threat which our Armed Forces have to be prepared to face.
6. Animal experiments are carried out at CBDE Porton Down only when careful consideration of alternatives to the use of animals has shown that there is no adequate substitute and where it is judged essential to use animals for this purpose. It is, important to recognise that there is no population suffering from chemical or biological warfare agents in the population at large and consequently the effectiveness of medical countermeasures cannot be evaluated, as can drugs developed against naturally occurring illness or disease, using human beings. It is consequently necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of medical countermeasures against chemical and biological weapons using an animal model for man.
7. The experiments carried out at CBDE involving the use of animals fully meet the spirit and letter of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986. CBDE is a registered place under the Act and all animal experiments and all the staff involved in them are licensed by the Home Office. Unannounced visits are made by Home Office inspectors to satisfy themselves that the requirements of the Act are met.
8. All work at CBDE is carefully controlled and monitored and is conducted by appropriately qualified personnel to the highest standards. It is vital that the protection provided for our Service personnel against the threat that they may be exposed to chemical or biological weapons should have been developed and tested to ensure safety and efficacy. Our role is to save the lives of the members of the British Armed Forces and this work is of continuing importance to the nation.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the research carried out by or on behalf of his Department using live animals leading to the death or injury of that animal for each of the last five years.
investigate gravitiational effects;
demonstrate the results of exposure to different pressures of air or oxygen;
provide effective protective measures for the armed forces against the threat that chemical or biological weapons might be used against them;
provide effective protective measures against conventional weapons.
Mr. Peter Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reports he has received of facsimile messages to and from royal naval establishments being sent to civilian addresses as a result of mis- dialling; and what proposals he has to eliminate the problem.
Mr. Soames: Three messages containing management information have been reported as having reached The News , Portsmouth as a consequence of mis-dialling a Plymouth terminal number. The terminal number in question has been changed, users are being advised and reminded to take care that the correct number has been dialled before material is transmitted.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cabs of logistics vehicles in Bosnia have been fitted with sniper protection armour; and whether any such vehicles so fitted have been detained for any period by any local military or paramilitary forces operating in Bosnia.
Mr. Soames: No logistic vehicles in Bosnia have been fitted with protective armour. However, this equipment is held in theatre and vehicles could be so fitted if this was warranted by operational circumstances.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the names of known or foreseeable emergency tour tasks; what relation the size of units on emergency tour tasks bears to battalion size; and which units are currently on emergency tour tasks and are expected to be in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Soames: The list of current operational tour commitments, and the units undertaking them are set out below. Those units at serials 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11 are of battalion size--or equivalent in non infantry-arms --those of 14 and 15 are of battalion group size; others are of less than battalion size. In all cases, the minimum manning strength required of the unit to carry out its operational tour commitment is less than that unit's peace establishment. It is not our usual practice to identify those units which are planned to take up operational tour commitments in the future.
Northern Ireland (NI) Operational Tour Plot
1. Armagh Roulement Battalion
42 Commando Regiment, Royal Marines
2. Belfast Roulement Battalion
1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Column 8563. Fermanagh Roulement Battalion
1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment
4. East Tyrone Battalion
1st Battalion The Green Howards
5. Girdwood Roulement Battalion
40 Regiment, Royal Artillery
6. Drumadd Roulement Battalion
5 Regiment, Royal Artillery
7. Prison Guard Force
The Queen's Royal Hussars
8. NI Roulement Engineer Squadron
37 Field Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment
9. NI Roulement Engineer Search Troop
37 Field Squadron, 35 Engineer Regiment
10. NI Roulement Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron
4 General Support Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Operational
11. UNFICYP Roulement Regiment
The Queen's Royal Lancers. Royal Armoured Corps
Falkland Islands Operational Tour Plot
12. Falkland Islands Roulement Infantry Company Group 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
13. Falkland Islands Roulement Field Squadron
53 Field Support Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps
United Nations Protection Force Infantry Operational Tour Plot 14. Britbat 1
1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers
C Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment
15. Britbat 2
1st Battalion The Royal Gloucester, Wiltshire
B Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment
Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the nature of the bilateral cost-sharing agreement under which the United Kingdom Government carry out construction work for the United States military at their bases and other property in the United Kingdom; when this agreement was first started; what is the value of the work currently being carried out; and at which United States bases and facilities this work is currently being carried out.
Mr. Soames: The confidential exchange of notes between the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States relating to the cost-sharing arrangement was signed on 4 April 1973. It is not our practice to comment on the details of such arrangements. The value of work currently being carried out is a matter for the United States Government. Work is being carried out under the provisions of the above arrangement at the following main locations and their associated sites:
RAF Daws Hill
Menwith Hill Station
RAF St. Mawgan