THE Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) says the welfare of any animal under its care is "of the utmost importance".

It comes after protests over its experiments by Animal Justice Project - both outside Porton Down and in Salisbury city centre.

The group say "vile" experiments are conducted at the science lab, and held the protests on World Day for Animals in Laboratories (April 24).

DSTL reject these claims, saying it conducts experiments "ethically and in line with legislation".

'Reduce, refine, replace'

Protest at Porton Down

Protest at Porton Down

Animal Justice Project has also said that Porton Down has refused three Freedom of Information requests this year regarding experiments on animals.

But DSTL also reject this claim, and says it complies with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

It says it undertakes licensed animal experiments to "protect and save the lives of UK personnel", and that some the work it does could not be achieved without animal experiments,

A statement added: "We’re committed to the 3Rs principle – reduce, refine, replace - reducing the number of animal experiments wherever possible">

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