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Lords affirm support for animal research

5 October 2011

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Category: Policy Issues

big–ben.jpgMembers of the House of Lords on Tuesday affirmed their support for 'proper and appropriate' use of animals in medical research. They also criticised campaigns, such as those by Animal Aid, which are 'misleading' the public by suggesting animal research is unnecessary for developing new treatments.

The government in the form of Home Office Minister Lord Henley gave an 'assurance that we will not be dropping our (animal welfare) standards in any way whatever' in a response to an oral question.

Lord Willis of Knaresborough had asked the government what action they are taking to 'enable the appropriate use of animals in health-related research.' In the following exchange Lord Henley said,

'We obviously want to avoid using animals wherever possible but I think we all accept that if we want the National Health Service and modern medicine as a whole to function effectively, it is essential that we can test on animals and that we make sure that the availability of medicines and treatments has been developed or validated through research, with the appropriate use of animals where it is right to do so.'

Later Lord Sutherland of Houndwood asked, 'What encouragement are the Government giving to public bodies in receipt of public funds for medical research to engage in educating the public on these matters? That is very important.'

To which Lord Henley responded,

'The noble Lord's question says it in itself: the important thing is to get the message over to the public that it is very necessary that we do animal research where it is appropriate and that we make the proper leaps forward as are necessary. The Government will do their bit but we hope that everyone in the world of academe, the universities and elsewhere, will do their bit to make it clear that we will do what is necessary and that necessary research is being done.'

The oral question and responses can be read in Hansard here.