Approval urged for rural animal lab in Yorkshire
Agenda Resource Management wants to build barns, a laboratory, office space and storage rooms on the site of a former feed mill, at Daisy Hill, near Burstwick, east of Hull, which would employ 20 full-time staff.
The company already has a division sourcing people to work with laboratory animals and says it is looking to expand "its business in provision of services commensurate with the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries".
As part of its application to East Riding Council, it says the site at Daisy Hill is "ideal" partly because it offers a "secure, secluded and relatively anonymous environment" in which to carry out its activities and there are "local fields where animals can be kept as well as space for large animal sheds on site".
The company says the development will benefit the area, which lacks "hi-tech" activity.
Managing director Paul Sanders said: "I personally believe very strongly that the benefits of the use of animals in research provided it is done properly and under welfare conditions and the rules in this country, is vital.
"It is vital for the ageing nation. If research is done let's have it done where it is properly regulated not in Third World countries where they may not have the same structure we have."
Mr Sanders said it was too early to say exactly what the facility would be used for as part of the business.
"It could be sheep, cows, goats, I really can't say at this stage. We could use it for storage right through to any other activities," he said.
Planners recommend that the application is given the go-ahead at a meeting at County Hall tomorrow, citing the "significant investment" it represents.
They state: "The building itself would have an appearance akin to an agricultural building and would be substantially screened by adjacent buildings.
"The proposed security measures are discreet and would not adversely impact on the visual amenities of the area."
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, which campaigns to end animal experiments, said: "There are strong ethical and scientific objections to animal research.
"The BUAV does not believe it is morally acceptable to cause suffering, sometimes very great suffering, to animals.
"Furthermore, claims that animal testing has, or will, lead to cures for every human ailment are very powerful.
"Yet there is very little scientific evidence for these grand claims.
"In the 21st century we should be using the larger range of non-animal research techniques that are available which, as well as being a humane approach to science, are also cheaper, quicker and more effective. "
Last year one of the country's main breeders, B&K Universal Group at nearby Grimston, which bred beagles and rodents for research, was taken over by US-based Marshall BioResources.
The latest animal experiment statistics from the Home Office for 2009, show that there were 3.6 million "scientific procedures", a fall of one per cent on the previous 12 months.
Nearly half included the breeding of genetically-modified animals. Mice were used in the vast majority of experiments (73 per cent).
Since 2008, experiments on sheep increased by six per cent to 38,000 and on cattle increased by 89 per cent to nearly 4,400.
An estimated 12 million animals undergo experiments in the European Union each year.
Pharmaceutical giants argue research involving animals is vital in the early stages of a medicine's development to gauge how a drug works and to estimate safe doses for humans.
Campaigners say safe alternatives to using animals for testing can include studying cell and tissue cultures, molecular research, post-mortem studies, population studies and research on human volunteers.