Campaigners have expressed dismay after the High Court dismissed claims that beagles bred for research in Yorkshire should be given the chance to exercise outside.
The decision brings to an end a four-year planning battle by B&K Universal for a new beagle breeding facility at Grimston.
B&K has faced huge opposition ever since the plans emerged. The plans were turned down in 2013 by East Riding councillors, but controversially allowed on appeal last year.
Cruelty Free International challenged the Home Office’s decision to allow B&K an exemption not to provide outdoor runs. But its judicial review against the Government department was rejected by the High Court yesterday.
Michelle Thew, CFI chief executive, said: “The European Directive requirement for giving dogs used in highly unpleasant tests just a little protection has, with this judgement, been swept away.
“We are dismayed at the outcome of today’s High Court case and will be considering with our lawyers whether to appeal.”
However B&K welcomed the “sensible” decision and said they had provided extensive evidence that outdoor runs would present a “health hazard” to the dogs. However they criticised the nine months it had taken to resolve the case.
A spokesman said: “We operate many highly effective enrichment techniques, adapted to suit dogs bred for research, to extend the range of activities available to the animals and so increase their coping capacities – including physical exercise, manipulative and cognitive awareness activities. These are reviewed and updated regularly.
“We would like to thank the UK scientific associations and industry for their support throughout this excessively long process.”
Beagles have not been bred on the site, which has operated for nearly half a century, since 2010. Campaigners insist testing on animals is cruel and want a 70-year-old law which dictates every new drug has to be safety tested on a rodent and a non-rodent species to be scrapped. But supporters say the vast majority of scientific opinion accepts the need for animal work.