The Academy has responded to a Home Office consultation on options for the future of a contentious Section of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) ActPublic Dialogue
The Home Office's review of Section 24 of ASPA
In June 2014, the Academy responded to the Home Office's consultation on the review of Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as amended (ASPA).
Section 24 of ASPA exempts the Home Office, as the regulatory body overseeing the use of animals in research, from releasing any material that it holds in relation to ASPA in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. This is out of step with Government's pledge to be more open about the information it holds. Moreover, the Section 24 exemption only applies to the Home Office, and not the providers of sensitive information regarding animal research (such as universities), so it has failed to give suffient protection to the people, places and intellectual property (IP) associated with this research.
In the Academy's response, we support the option to repeal Section 24 of ASPA, as long as there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect sensitive information that is included in much of the material the Home Office holds (in the form of animal research project licences, for instance). This will help to increase openness on animal research, while also upholding personal safety of those working in the sector, and UK bioscience's international competitiveness. The Academy also endorses the response submitted by the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, which we contributed to.
The full Academy response and the UKBSC's response are both available to download on the right-hand side of this page.