National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

NAVS reveals deadly dog experiments as Minister considers breeding farm plans

Posted: 27 August 2014. Updated: 27 August 2014


The NAVS has today revealed how beagle dogs were experimented on and killed during tests conducted by the St George’s, University of London and notorious contract testing facility Huntingdon Life Sciences, for a rare genetic disorder for which a clinical treatment is already being used, and assessed, in small groups of patients. The NAVS’ findings come as Secretary of State Eric Pickles considers plans to build a facility in Grimston, Yorkshire where hundreds of dogs would be bred and trucked to laboratories across the UK.

In the study, funded by the Medical Research Council, 18 beagles were used to test a treatment for MNGIE (mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy), an ultra-rare genetic disorder which affects the digestive and nervous systems, of which only 200 cases have been identified globally. MNGIE sufferers are deficient in a compound called EE-TP and for the experiment the dogs were injected with the substance, after it had been encased in red blood cells taken from the animals earlier.

The animals were split into three groups, with two being treated twice a week and one every two weeks. After dosing, the dogs suffered a host of debilitating symptoms including body tremors, vomiting and loose faeces. To reduce these, the males were pre-medicated after a period of time. On two occasions the dogs, who were otherwise group housed, were isolated and shut alone in cages for over 16 hours without food and water in order to collect their urine for analysis. All of the dogs were killed the day after the experiment.

It is acknowledged that the use of dogs and other animal species to study toxic effects is unreliable in informing human trials due to species differences, and scientists have urged caution when extrapolating data from animal models to humans. Several patients have undergone, or are currently undergoing, alternative treatments. In fact, the St George’s, University of London’s own website states how “Clinical improvements have also been reported, with a reduction in the number of nausea and vomiting attacks, a reduction in weight loss”. In addition, one group of researchers studying the effects of the same treatment method described the results in one patient as “encouraging, particularly as a low dose was administered”. Other treatment methods being trialled in MNGIE sufferers include stem cell transplantation and a specific type of dialysis, both of which have reported clinical benefits.

This experiment is just one example of the flawed and unjustifiable experiments dogs will be exposed to if Eric Pickles allows the unwanted and unnecessary beagle breeding facility in Yorkshire to go ahead.

Being small and docile, beagles are preferred subjects. The dogs are commonly used for toxicology where they may be force-fed chemicals and have toxic substances pumped into their veins which can make them so sick that they die in agony.

Science is moving away from crude and unreliable animal tests and the public is strongly opposed to the horrific suffering these dogs needlessly endure. The NAVS urge Eric Pickles to uphold the council’s decision to block B&K’s backward plans once again.

Find out more about the campaign to block the beagle farm

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