Protesters scenting victory as beagle farm faces refusal

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Anti-vivisectionists may have won the battle over building bigger facilities for breeding beagles in East Yorkshire.

Planners at East Riding Council are recommending refusal of controversial plans for the Marshall Farms facility at Grimston which have received thousands of objections.

The company, which took over the site from B&K Universal two years ago wants to modernise facilities used previously for breeding beagles, demolishing old buildings and putting up four new ones on an area double the size of the previous site.

The council is recommending refusal for access reasons – saying the road to the site would need to be widened for construction traffic.

They say: “There is no certainty such improvements could be implemented due to the narrowness of the public highway and this may involve third party land.”

The scheme has provoked 57 letters of objection and 3650 “representations” from others including the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, the National Anti Vivisection Society and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Those against say testing animals say it is unacceptable and unnecessary, while those who are pro-testing, say new drugs must be tested on animals before being used on humans.

Barbara Davies, from Understanding Animal Research, said: “Our understanding is that the Marshall planning application will provide improved facilities for the animals, so it is difficult to see why so-called animal-welfare campaigners would oppose it.

“All mainstream medical and scientific organisations around the world agree that animals are essential in scientific research, medicines development and safety testing.”

She said dogs were important in the study of heart disease and in the safety testing of medicines, and in the past had been key to developing insulin for people with diabetes, the heart-lung machine, and anti-rejection medicines.

However, BUAV chief executive Michelle Thew said they were delighted by the recommendation.

“There is strong public concern regarding the breeding and use of dogs in research. Animal testing is out-dated, ethically unacceptable and scientifically questionable.

“We appeal to the planning committee to vote to refuse this application,” she added.