Wiltshire

Animal Welfare Advisory Committee scrapped

A quango that advised the Ministry of Defence on the care of animals used in defence experiments is being dissolved.

Peter Luff, junior defence minister, told MPs the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (Awac) had not met since 2007.

Its four members were allowed full access to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

Compliance with animal welfare regulations will still be monitored.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) uses animals to help develop ways to protect troops from hazards.

The ministry does not use animals to develop weapons or offensive capabilities.

'Dissolved immediately'

The independent committee became a non-departmental public body in 1998, and reports annually.

Mr Luff said the move was part of the government's commitment to reducing bureaucracy costs.

In a written statement to MPs, Mr Luff said: "The Awac is not responsible for monitoring compliance with animal welfare regulations since this is done by the Home Office and their independent Animal Procedures Committee (APC).

"Consequently the Awac has not met since 2007. We have consulted with all interested parties and it has been agreed that the Awac will be dissolved immediately.

"We are confident that the Home Office and their independent APC will ensure that the MoD continues to take the issue of animal health and welfare seriously and complies fully with all animal welfare regulations."

He said all other public bodies sponsored by the MoD would remain in place.

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