Animal lovers are bracing themselves for a decision over plans to expand a controversial beagle and ferret breeding farm in East Yorkshire.
Over 100,000 people have signed petitions against the plans by Yorkshire Evergreen for the facility in Grimston, in Holderness.
Rock legend Sir Brian May, Downton star Peter Egan and BBC Radio 2 presenter Mark Radcliffe have all called on the Government to turn down the plans. May said there was “no justification for forcing dogs to suffer in experiments.”
A final decision by Communities Secretary Greg Clark was due by today, although his department said there was no guarantee it would happen.
Evergreen, known as B&K, which is owned by US multinational animal supplier, Marshall BioResources, appealed after the plans were rejected by East Riding councillors in 2013. Anti-vivisectionists have said the Government should intervene after an Italian court convicted three executives in January at a beagle-breeding facility, owned by the same firm, of cruelty. Green Hill in Montichiari was closed down in 2012 and 3,000 dogs were released to be rehomed. President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society Jan Creamer said: “NAVS urges the Secretary of State to dismiss these deadly plans and do the right thing in the name of science, the public and the animals who will be destined to suffer if the facility goes ahead.”
Latest statistics show that 3,554 dogs were experimented on in Britain, marking a 10 per cent rise from the year before. Almost all are killed at the end of the experiments. Chris Magee, Head of Policy and Media for Understanding Animal Research, said allowing the plans would help the dogs’ welfare as they would no longer have to be flown in from abroad. He added: “As the European Commission confirmed earlier this month, we are not yet at the stage where animals can be replaced in the fight against human and animal diseases, so we must proceed as kindly as we can in the circumstances”