National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Political Animals 2015: Government intervenes to expand UK laboratory beagle supply

Posted: 24 September 2015. Updated: 29 September 2015


Plans to extend a beagle breeding facility in Yorkshire were approved by Secretary of State Greg Clark in July, overturning the decision of the local council and contradicting a ruling by former Secretary of State Eric Pickles who rejected similar plans for the dog farm.

For four years, Yorkshire Evergreen, owned by US multinational animal supplier Marshall BioResources, has attempted to push through its laboratory breeding facility expansion, appealing multiple rejections. The NAVS has presented oral evidence and written submissions on each occasion, providing scientific and economic evidence opposing the expansion, with the support of the local community, and hundreds of thousands signing petitions.

Earlier this year, a Yorkshire Evergreen director was convicted of illegally killing and mistreating animals by an Italian court. The Marshall BioResources ‘Green Hill’ facility in Italy was closed and the dogs have since been rehomed. Making the UK Government’s railroading of the decision over local opposition all the more objectionable.

Being small and docile, beagles have become the favoured breed for lab experiments, most commonly in toxicology tests where they may be force-fed or injected with chemicals. Almost all individuals are killed at the end of the experiments, the need for which is increasingly questioned due to known differences in results between species and the more relevant outcomes using advanced non-animal alternative methods.

There is no evidence of a need for more dogs for experimentation in the UK. In fact over the past ten years, there has been a substantial reduction in dog experiments, falling to 3,554 dogs used in 2013, from 5,088 in 2003. There appears to be no advantage in flooding the UK market with laboratory beagles, other than to US multinational Marshall BioResources. Making dogs more cheaply and easily available is likely to prolong outdated and unreliable animal testing methods and set back progress on the introduction of advanced non-animal methods, more relevant to humans.

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