A protest against a company “breeding beagles for toxicology testing” is due to take place in Hull on Sunday.
A group called Free the MBR Beagles has organised two rallies on Sunday, August 15.
One outside Marshall BioResources (MBR)’s acre site in Huntingdon, and the other at MBR’s sister company, B&K Universal, in Grimston, Hull.
The group’s Facebook event page says the companies supply the entire beagle requirements from UK contract testing laboratories.
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It adds: “If these two sites can be closed, beagle breeding for toxicology testing in the UK will be finished.”
The group has been protesting for the past year, but the movement has gained traction since The Mirror published footage of the puppies being piled into small overcrowded trolleys.
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In the video, the puppies were whimpering in crates as they were loaded into vans to be transported to labs across the country.
According to animal welfare charities, the puppies are taken away when they are 16-weeks-old to be force fed chemicals for 90 days without pain relief or anaesthetic. Many of them are killed at the end of the painful experiments.
Actor Ricky Gervais, 59, started a campaign to ban the ‘terribly cruel’ practice.
He told the Mirror: “I’m deeply shocked to learn that thousands of beautiful Beagles are intensively bred, right here in the peace of the British countryside, for painful and terrifying toxicity experiments that are also now proven to entirely fail the search for human treatments and cures.”
The current UK law requires new medicine to be tested on one rodent animal and one non-rodent animal before it is allowed on the market.
Dogs are commonly used for the non-rodent requirement. Beagles have been used in the testing for medication that treats high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and cancer.
A spokeswoman for MBR said: “We adhere to rigorous legislation through the strictest inspection routines for the breeding of laboratory animals at our facilities. Animal welfare is always our top priority.
“The UK has the most demanding regulations in the world – placing greater requirements on those who propose using animals in medical research than any other territory and demanding the highest welfare standards.
“The overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion is that animals are needed in a small percentage of medical research projects and that results from testing in dogs, when combined with work in other species, provide data that best predict human responses to drugs.
“Governments internationally take note of this and legally demand the use of animals where science advises that it is necessary.
“This issue is revisited regularly because it is an important one, but it is worth remembering that we exist only because successive UK governments, including the current one, demand that all potential medicines are tested in animals before being given to humans and animals.”
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