Previous Section Index Home Page

Imutran Limited

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with the review by the Chief Inspector of the Animals (Scientific

13 Jul 2001 : Column: 700W

Procedures) Inspectorate of Compliance by Imutran Limited with the authorities granted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 for its xenotransplantation research; and if he will make a statement. [4420]

Angela Eagle: I have today published a report on the routine review of compliance with the authorities issued to Imutran Ltd. prepared by the Chief Inspector of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate and placed copies in the Library.

The Chief Inspector's findings confirm that the level of compliance was generally good. He has, however, also identified five instances of non-compliance. Three of these were already known to the Home Office and were dealt with in 1997.

One of the newly identified infringements was essentially technical and no unnecessary animal suffering resulted. In the other case there is evidence that animals experienced unnecessary suffering because of delay in implementing the agreed humane end-point for the procedure applied to them. In mitigation, the clinicians' decisions were based upon clinical judgment rather than undisputed or unambiguous facts and the Chief Inspector's view is that the decisions taken by those concerned do not indicate any fundamental disregard for the welfare of the animals. Both infringements will be dealt by means of letters of admonishment to those responsible, none of whom is currently resident or working in the United Kingdom.

The Imutran licences were revoked in July 2000 following a decision by its parent company to close Imutran Ltd. and transfer its technology to a new company in North America.