Ricky Gervais enters fray over Holderness beagle farm plans

A laboratory Beagle in its enclosure
A laboratory Beagle in its enclosure
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COMEDIAN Ricky Gervais has mobilised his legions of fans to sign a petition against an East Yorkshire beagle farm.

Councillors are tomorrow due to discuss plans for the new facility at Grimston, in Holderness, where dogs would be bred for use in experiments.

A spokeswoman for the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection said the number of signatures had almost doubled after Gervais, a long-time supporter, re-tweeted the BUAV’s call for people to sign their petition.

The number of signatures now stand at nearly 32,000.

Other high-profile personalities asking fans to sign include Scottish TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher and naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham.

However David Gatehouse, spokesman for B&K Universal, said people need to see through animal rights campaigners’ “medieval quackery”.

He said: “People should take note of what scientists say rather than what celebrities say. If you go to the vets, doctors or pharmacy you are a tacit supporter of animal work in human and veterinary medicine – so don’t avail youself of those facilties on principle.

“People need to pay attention to independent, peer-reviewed, rigorously tested and scientific analysis and if they look into that the overwhelming number of scientists, particularly bio-scientists, believe a degree of animal involvement in research is profoundly necessary.

“It only plays a small part but it is a vital part.”

Proposals for a larger facility on the same site – which also provoked a huge outcry – were rejected by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, following an appeal by the developers last year.

Councillors are being recommended to approve four applications relating to the plans tomorrow.

Currently beagles are bred at only one other centre in the UK, Harlan Laboratories, in Wyton, near Huntingdon.