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.

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I wonder what spiked the numbers in 2017. I was going to say Salisbury/Novichok/Skripals but I see that was in March 2018 so it can’t be that. Did any big bio incident happen in 2017?

I’m assuming that the general trend of declining animal tests is at least partially down to more use being made of computer screening (often referred to as in-silico testing).

HMS Monarch

Was there not a spike in interest in Anthrax that year after several mosques were mailed suspicious packages?


I’d like to know how they managed to get away with testing on 3 dogs in 2012 and where they got them from


Because dogs live with us, their use can feel emotive. But personally I’m more upset by the ongoing use of Primates. I want to shout out and demand that its stopped, but accept that there will be valid reasons why it continues. Still doesn’t feel right though


Unfortunately without using humans instead we have to use them, not for much longer I hope and not in horrific ways, I hope it’s painless also.


In the 1980’s they were still advertising for human animals/soldiers offering extra pay and holiday for experiments lol


Oh no I completely get that, my question is how are they getting dogs for testing, primates I can understand even though it disgusts me there are licensed and legal ways to get them, I’m pretty sure this is not the case for canine’s


Testing on dogs is legal although government licenses are needed to do any animal testing. The pharmaceutical industry does tests using dogs. There are companies that supply test animals.

They don’t all die grizzly deaths, two different friends of mine working in the pharma industry had rescue dogs that they’d adopted from the companies they worked for after the dogs were no longer needed for testing so I’ve actually met two canine survivors of such testing.


DSTL are the only lab’s in the UK allowed to use Primates.


Nothing in that list tells you what the tests were… just says scientific procedures with animals. There is much more at Porton down than chem\bio stuff now. for example: “While nothing can beat a dog’s ability to detect concentrations of substance as low as parts per million, a variety of technology is available and a number of research projects are underway to improve detector dog training and operation for defence and security purposes. The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has made a solution to overcome cueing by [sniffer dog] handlers during training available to industry through its Easy… Read more »


Such a superior species aren’t we


RIP xx


Not all die, some donGet rehoused.


Dam edit!! Some DO get Rehoused.

Meirion X

Could not Porton Down pursue research on how to divert the Jet Stream away from the UK, to Prevent Flooding??


Then we’d be under 6 feet of snow. Just don’t build on flood planes.


My point exactly, flood plains look perfect, nice and flat ect, but I’ve noticed all these house flooding are mostly or NATURAL flood planes, shit I’ve seen oxbow lakes behind houses!


We need the jet stream or we would be like Canada in winter, we are on the same parallel, look it up it’s crazy, and if the warm waters that also come our way also stopped we would be screwed for fishing ect. And yes the waters that hit the UK and Ireland are warm waters crazily enough.

Daniele Mandelli

Porton Down is a vital world respected national strategic asset.

But as an animal lover, I refuse to read of this aspect of its work, or read the article.

Barry Larking

Alas, we humans! But there have been and remain contemporary threats and countries or groups who would use such materials against us and ours and have shown they can. We have not yet found a way around this conundrum of lesser evil. Throwing down our defences is the least attractive of a set of slightly less worse choices. A public discussion is only possible if we defend a certain way of life. And, yes I have had to kill animals with my own hands when it was the quickest way to end suffering.

Daniele Mandelli

Me too Barry, 3 times, and it broke my heart. But I know it was right.


What about volunteering from life term prisoners I’m sure some would agree just to break up the monotonous life’s they lead… anyone agree? I’m pretty sure Russia still conducts experiments on humans but they hide it well and will say they don’t, what better subject to test for humans diseases cures ect than a human.

Daniele Mandelli

Funnily enough Porton Down used to test on humans too, volunteers from the military. Although some of those tests were probably at Winterbourne Gunner, the military barracks just south with the tri service CBRN role.

Also, look up the tests of biological spores released to test the spread through the London Underground! Or the same dropped by the RAF on Weymouth!


Does scotland have a similar place or will we rely on the rest of the UK for this aswell if independence was voted for. Ooops I just read what I wrote hahahahhahah Nicola sturgeon animal testing hahahaha

HMS Midlands

Interesting that the number of rabbit tests dropped off after the 2012 episode of Sherlock depicting Porton Down and the testing of Rabbits that made one glow in the dark.