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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were convicted of tobacco smuggling in the last 12 months; and how many of them were (a) imprisoned and (b) fined. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Information held centrally on the Home Office Court Proceedings Database combines sections 50(2)(3), 68(2) and 170(1)(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 "Fraudulent evasion of duty etc. other than drugs". However, the type of goods involved (tobacco, spirits, beers, wines, oils and guns) are not identified separately.
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Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is in respect of experiments involving animals where the primary objective is to obtain information concerning human medical conditions which can reasonably be assumed to be self-inflicted. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Evaluating research proposals involving the use of animals is difficult and requires a delicate moral balance to be struck. Scientific developments have saved many human lives and cured many illnesses. Human medical conditions are likely to
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derive from a variety of causes. For example, bronchitis and emphysema can be caused by a genetic predisposition, various occupational causes and passive smoking as well as smoking. It would be immoral, in our view, to deny victims of such diseases the assistance that new scientific knowledge could bring from current work.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The position remains that we have not ruled out a Royal Commission, but strongly believe that resources can best be used to make immediate improvements to the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and to promote the fullest application of the 3Rs: to replace the use of animals with alternative methods, to reduce the numbers of animals used and to refine the procedures to minimise pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.
In this context, the Animal Procedures Committee will be issuing a public consultation paper this summer as part of its review of the cost/benefit assessment. As part of this work, the Committee plans to produce an authoritative statement on the validity of animal experiments.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Section 5(4) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 requires that, in determining whether and on what terms to grant a project licence, the Secretary of State must weigh the likely adverse effects on the animals concerned against the benefit likely to accrue as a result of the programme specified on the application.
For the purposes of the cost/benefit assessment, the cost to the animal is considered as the adverse effects of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. The benefits must be for humans, animals or the environment and relate to the scientific and/or medical progress likely to result directly from the programme outlined in the application.
The identification and assessment of benefit is set out in detail in the Chief Inspector's paper on the cost/benefit assessment, included in the Annual Report of the Animal Procedures Committee for 1997. My policy is that the profitability of a company applying for authorities and the researchers' career prospects are not valid considerations for the purposes of the cost/benefit assessment, but that the socio-economic advantages of cheaper healthcare cannot be ruled out as possible legitimate benefits.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria have been used to make appointments to the Inspectorate in respect of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986; what plans he has to review these criteria; and if he will make a statement; 
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(4) how many establishments have been inspected by the Inspectorate appointed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 over the last three years; and with respect to each establishment of how many visits notification of the inspection was given; how many visits were unannounced; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There are approximately 300 designated establishments and the Inspectorate visits all of them. The number of visits to each establishment varies according to its size and the type of work being conducted at any particular time.
Approximately 1,800 visits of inspection are conducted each year, two-thirds of which are without notice. Visits by appointment are usually made to conduct interviews with staff, to discuss new work proposals and ongoing work, to examine records of work, to investigate non-compliance or to view premises being considered for designation.
When third party allegations are made against establishments or individuals, the investigation is handled by a Superintending Inspector from another region with no connection with the establishment or person, and no line management responsibility for the local inspector. The Chief Inspector quality assures these investigations and the resulting reports.
The 1986 Act requires that Inspectors must be either medical or veterinary graduates: the former must be registered with the General Medical Council and the latter must be Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Candidates are expected to have additional higher professional or academic qualifications, and to have first hand experience of designing and conducting research in a clinical, academic or commercial environment. They must have a sound knowledge of medicine and surgery and be familiar with current trends and technologies used in medical and biological research.
Members of the Inspectorate are civil servants, appointed to advise the Secretary of State whether and on what terms authorities should be granted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. It is the Secretary of State who has ultimate responsibility for deciding what is licensed and the conditions which will apply. It is not normal practice to reveal widely the names of individuals where it is not in the interests of personal safety and security to do so.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the number of animals used in entertainment other than in circuses; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Certificates of registration are sent to the Home Office by local authorities under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925. Local authorities were reminded in January of their statutory obligation to provide this information. The Home Office has so far this year received details of over 2,000 animals
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Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if any of those appointed to the Burns Inquiry secretariat have been (a) members and (b) supporters of (i) fox, deer, hare or mink hunts and (ii) other pro-field sports organisations, or have participated in hare coursing events; 
Mr. Cawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visits have been undertaken by each member of the Burns Inquiry team in the course of the inquiry to events and functions organised by (a) anti- hunting groups and (b) pro-hunting groups. 
Members of the Committee of Inquiry attended 11 events organised by, at the suggestion of, or in conjunction with, anti-hunting organisations. Attendance was as follows: Lord Burns 10; Dr. Victoria Edwards seven; Professor Sir John Marsh six; Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior one; Professor Michael Winter four.
Members of the Committee attended 23 events organised by, at the suggestion of or in conjunction with, pro-hunting organisations. Attendance was as follows: Lord Burns 16; Dr. Victoria Edwards 12; Professor Sir John Marsh 11; Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior seven; Professor Michael Winter 12.
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