UK & World News
New Plans To Breed Beagles For Science Testing
Controversial plans to breed beagles in East Yorkshire for use in animal experiments have been resubmitted two years after they were thrown out by the government.
A US-backed firm wants to breed up to 2,000 dogs a year in the village of Grimston, near Hull, and sell them for use in tests in UK laboratories.
A previous proposal to breed beagles on the site was rejected by Communities secretary Eric Pickles in January 2012.
His department called the plans in after campaigns were launched by anti-vivisection group and planning permission was refused by East Riding Council.
If permission for the new building is granted it would become the second beagle breeding site in Britain, competing with Harlan in Cambridgeshire to supply the more than 3,000 dogs used in UK laboratories each year.
The Grimston site is owned by B&K Universal, part of US firm Marshall BioResources, and is currently used for breeding genetically modified mice and housing imported beagles before they go to British laboratories.
Roy Sutcliffe, the company's general manager, told Sky News it has now addressed all the planning concerns and insisted permission should be granted to protect investment in Britain.
Mr Sutcliffe said the UK market for beagles is worth around £2.5m a year, but said research firms will move abroad if they cannot source dogs easily.
"Having more than one supplier is strategically important for UK bioscience," he said.
Although using animals for testing cosmetics is banned in the UK the law states new drugs must still be tested on animals for safety.
Animal rights campaigners have condemned the new plans, claiming they go against government pledges to reduce animal experiments.
The National Anti-Vivisection Society described the plans as cruel and has launched a campaign to fight them.
"Allowing the planned beagle breeding facility would increase the supply of beagles which goes against the Government's pledge to reduce the number of animals in experiments," said the group's chief executive Jan Creamer.
In 2011 Sky News was given unprecedented access to Beagles housed at the Grimston site in indoor cages.
The imported dogs had previously been used for breeding and were kept there to supply blood for sale to laboratories.
Cameras had never been allowed into the site before over fears about attacks from animal rights extremists and we were not allowed to show security features including razor wire, CCTV cameras and guards.
The dogs were kept in groups of twos and threes in metal cages against the walls.
In the centre of the room was a bright plastic slide which the dogs played on when they were let out for what the firm called "socialisation" and when their cages were being cleaned.
The dogs were never allowed outside and staff and visitors had to wear overclothes to protect the animals from disease.