In a victory for animals, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Planning Committee voted this week to reject a controversial proposal to build a breeding facility for beagles intended for research.
Last year, public outcry helped stop similar plans in East Yorkshire. However, another proposal for a scaled-down version on the same site that’s owned by Bantin & Kingman Universal Ltd (B&K) was submitted this year and became the center of another controversy surrounding the use of dogs in research and animal testing in general.
Animal advocates, local residents and celebrities rallied against the proposal that was submitted earlier this fall by Yorkshire Evergreen, a subsidiary of U.S. company Marshall BioResources, over concerns about the cruelty inherent in breeding and keeping dogs for research and problems it would cause for residents.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) are among those celebrating the plan’s rejection for sparing thousands of dogs from a life of suffering.
“East Riding of Yorkshire Council has made the right decision to reject plans to breed beagles for experiments in Grimston. This is a significant victory for animals, public opinion and modern science. The Council has shown today that using dogs in experiments is quite literally a dying industry,” said NAVS Chief Executive Jan Creamer.
According to NAVS:
In 2012, 3,214 dogs were used in 4,843 experiments in Great Britain, meaning that some dogs were forced to endure multiple tests. Dogs can have their heads forced into masks to breathe in toxic substances, be restrained as tubes are pushed down their throats for force-feeding, or strapped into harnesses to have substances pumped through their veins. Substances tested on dogs include weed killer, drugs and industrial chemicals, in huge quantities. At the end of the experiment, most dogs are killed.
Some researchers and the company in question still argue that using dogs, and animals in general, in research is a necessary evil. David Gatehouse, spokesman for B&K, told the Yorkshire Post that “people need to see through animal rights campaigners’ ‘medieval quackery.’”
However, when it comes to medieval quackery, it looks like vivisectors are the ones who remain in the dark ages. The announcement coincides with the release of a new study that has concluded dogs are unreliable test subjects when it comes to testing drugs for humans. The study will be published in the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals.
The BUAV and the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) undertook the most comprehensive analysis to date of the predictive value of dogs as models for toxicity testing in humans by analyzing thousands of publicly-available toxicological studies that used dogs and found that “canine models are highly inconsistent predictors of toxic responses in humans.”
This finding raises concerns not only about pointlessly causing dogs to suffer in experiments, but that medicines that could work on humans might never make it to clinical trials with people because unreliable animal models failed.
The organizations hope that their findings will lead to more debate about switching to test models that don’t use animals. The BUAV is also working to get the Coalition Government to uphold its promise to reduce animal testing, which reached a 25 year high in 2012, and to stop using companion animals in tests with its Our Best Friends campaign.
Please sign and share the petition asking the Coalition Government to stand by its promise to reduce animal experiments.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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