The Ministry of Defence has carried out 58867 experimental procedures on animals since 2009.
Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs asked in a recent exchange:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2020 to Question 9721, on Porton Down: Animal Experiments, on which species of animal were scientific procedures conducted in each year from 2009 to 2018; and how many scientific procedures were conducted on each species.”
Jeremy Quin, Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office, responded:
“The information requested is shown in the table below. Number of scientific procedures, by species, for the years 2009 to 2018”
Previous reports indicated that some animals had been gassed and poisoned with chemical and biological agents as part of Ministry of Defence research programmes. The Ministry of Defence defend the practice, claiming it provides medical staff with vital training that has went on to help save the lives of British troops.
An MoD spokesman said:
“The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is responsible for developing and creating indispensable technology and equipment to protect the UK and its armed forces. This could not, currently, be achieved without the use of animals in research. The laboratory is committed to reducing the number of animal experiments and only applies for licences if the research aims cannot be achieved without animal experiments.”
The number of experiments carried out has fallen significantly each year, with a pea of 9.722 in 2011 and a low in 2018 of 1,941.