A decision granting permission to Yorkshire Evergreen to farm thousands of beagle dogs and other animals for experiments has been condemned by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS). Today’s announcement by Secretary of State Greg Clark overturns the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and contradicts a ruling by the previous Secretary of State who rejected similar unpopular plans for a dog farm on the same site.
NAVS President Jan Creamer said, “This is a betrayal of the animals, the public and science. The number of dog experiments has declined substantially over the past ten years, but this regressive decision could see that positive trend reversed. Instead of consigning thousands of dogs to a life of suffering in the laboratory, the government should be championing better, modern alternatives that will save animal and human lives.”
Celebrities Brian May, Peter Egan and Mark Radcliffe joined the NAVS campaign to oppose the controversial plans. Legendary Queen guitarist and Save-Me Trust founder Brian May voiced his disappointment at the ruling, saying “I am sickened to hear that this facility is to go ahead, ignoring the views of the public and local authorities, and condemning these best friends of man to thousands of unethical and unnecessary tests. This is an appalling message for Britain to send out to the world.”
Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan was shocked by the decision, saying “This is a tragedy that will see litter after litter of beagle pups reared for the laboratory, where these gentle animals will be force-fed and killed in crude tests that are of little use to people.”
Grahame Morris MP said, “I am extremely disappointed that Yorkshire Evergreen’s plans have been approved. It makes absolutely no sense and is completely out-of-step with the government commitment to reduce the number of animals in experiments. I will do all I can to oppose similar plans and encourage scientists to use cutting-edge alternatives to animal tests.”
Yorkshire Evergreen is owned by US multinational animal supplier Marshall BioResources and has attempted to push through plans for a laboratory breeding facility for four years, appealing multiple rejections. The proposals have caused a public outcry in the local community and across the UK, with tens of thousands of people signing petitions and speaking out in opposition.
Earlier this year, a Yorkshire Evergreen director was convicted of illegally killing and mistreating animals by an Italian court. Marshall BioResources’ Italian facility ‘Green Hill’ was closed and the dogs have been re-homed.
Being small and docile, beagles are preferred test subjects. Dogs are commonly used for ‘toxicology’ experiments 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. Almost all individuals are killed at the end of the experiment.
There has been a substantial reduction in dog experiments over the past 10 years. Latest statistics show that 3,554 dogs were experimented on in Britain in 2013, down from 5,088 in 2003. The NAVS is concerned that the surge in availability of beagles could lead to a dramatic increase in dog experimentation.
Science is moving away from using animals with far more advanced alternatives available. In addition, public support for animal experiments has fallen and the government has pledged to reduce the number of animals in experiments.
The plans are liable to disrupt the village and local community, potentially subjecting Grimston locals to sound pollution and damaged verges during building work. Further disruption will be caused as young beagles are transported off to their fates in laboratories and the facility deals with the delivery of supplies and increased disposal of animal waste.