EDM 250

Thank you for contacting me about animal research and EDM 250.

It is my policy not to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs), as they are little more than parliamentary graffiti and I do not feel that they bring about resolutions.

Animal research still plays an important role in providing vital safety information for potential new medicines. It is worth remembering that, as a result of findings from animal studies, a large number of potential new drugs never get as far as being tested in humans. Some aspects of the toxicological assessment of new medicines cannot be adequately assessed in humans, and animal data will be the only kind available.

Without animal testing it is highly likely that a large number of potentially dangerous new medicines would be tested in healthy volunteers and patients in clinical trials, and I know Ministers believe that this would be quite unacceptable. However, animals are only used when there are no suitable alternatives, and by encouraging new cutting-edge approaches to science we will ensure that standards of animal welfare are improved.

I fully support all steps to establish new methods and to support the life sciences and research industry. However, existing scientific research methods ensure that, by the time medicines reach clinical trial, risks are significantly reduced.