CAMPAIGNERS have expressed dismay after new plans emerged to expand an animal breeding centre which would supply beagles for experiments.
Proposals for a large-scale facility in the village of Grimston on the Holderness coast, which provoked a huge outcry, were rejected by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, following an appeal by the developers last year.
Now Yorkshire Evergreen, which is owned by US firm Marshall BioResources, has re-entered the fray with fresh proposals “to meet the UK demand for research animals (dogs and ferrets).”
But the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is planning a new campaign – and say they are confident they will win public backing.
The last plans proved hugely controversial, attracting 28,000 signatures on an online petition.
In documents submitted to East Riding Council, the developers say they have scaled back plans and are only seeking to put up one new building.
They state they are seeking to “meet the current and future UK demand for research animals by local breeding as opposed to reliance on imports” and claim it is “of national importance to the UK pharmaceutical industry which requires that there are multiple sources of UK production of certain species, where at the moment, only one source exists.”
They insist the plans do not represent “an intensification of activities at the site” which has been used for breeding and research since 1972 and there will be less traffic – a source of disturbance to neighbours – once construction is complete.
Its application says it will create 10 jobs over a three-year period, and claims: “It is a significant animal welfare ‘gain’ to position the breeding facility at Grimston, as this will mean that the applicant will be reducing the need for shipping large numbers of animals over large distances.”
They say research and development underpins a sector – UK Life Science – which has a £50bn turnover. It adds: “Use of animals is a small but important part of biomedical research for example to further understanding of basic mechanisms of health and disease and provide new targets for treatment of diseases such as dementia.”
It goes on: “The applicant accepts there may be some strongly held moral and ethical objections to the use of animals in research –but though the applicant does not itself carry out experiments, such experiments are legally required and this is expected to continue to be the case for many years to come.”
Campaigners say the beagles are largely used in toxicity (poisoning) testing for human and veterinary drugs as well as agrochemicals, and can be force-fed, via plastic tubes into their stomachs, or strapped into harnesses while substances are pumped in.
Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais was among those to voice opposition last time.
BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said: “We are dismayed to learn of this new planning application by Yorkshire Evergreen for a breeding and supply facility in Grimston. We will once again be raising public awareness of this new application as there is a strong ethical and scientific case to end these outdated experiments. We are confident that, once more, the public will join us in contesting these plans and we will be contacting East Riding Council to urge them to reject the application immediately.”