This week the Animal Freedom Movement (AFM) broke into a beagle breeding facility in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and managed to free five dogs during a second day protest against animal testing.
The center reportedly breeds around 2,000 beagles a year to supply universities and private laboratories where experiments are conducted for research.
Animal lover Vicky, who is the owner of Victoria Cakes in Leyland, has two beagles of her own – Lola eight and a half and Betty who is almost 16 months.
“We adopted Betty from roaming dogs rescue just over three months ago. Beagles are gentle, loving, inquisitive dogs who just want to be out on a walk sniffing things.”
She first became aware of the problem a year ago when camp beagle was set up.
“My friends mum was down there. She’s an animal rights activist. My friend shared it on Facebook. I read the words ‘beagles being bred for torture’. I was instantly heartbroken and then got doing my own research about it.
“I visited camp a few weeks later which was so upsetting and has been every time since, but each time I have been it’s raised more awareness. Even just being there I feel like I’m doing something however small that is.”
She is now calling on the public for their help in freeing the MBR beagles and has organized an event to be held at Avenham Park in Preston on Saturday, July 9, from 12pm until 3pm.
Camp Beagle is a protest camp set up in July 2021 by animal rights activists outside of MBR Acres, a breeding facility for beagles used in laboratory research, in Wyton, Cambridgeshire. The protestors want the site to be closed down, the beagles freed and for vivisection in the United Kingdom to be ended.
Following a High Court injunction hearing instigated by MBR Acres, it was ruled, on 5 October, that the camp was allowed to remain, with the provision that activists must remain at least 10 meters from the gates.
A Freedom of Information Request revealed that Cambridge Constabulary spent £165,166 from 27 June to 14 September on policing the camp.
Vicky added: “This is my first outreach event. But I’ve been down to camp beagle four times now which is a camp set up outside American-owned company Marshall Bioresources (MBR) acres where they are breeding the beagles.”
“The beagles are held inside the windowless sheds inside. At 20 weeks old they are sent off in vans to laboratories and universities all over the country for the most horrific experiments done to them such as being force fed pesticides for up to 90 days before they they are killed if they have survived that long. It’s very, very sad all of it.” It’s truly heartbreaking.”
Asked why she thinks they test on beagles instead of another breed, she believed it was due to their gentle nature.” They are easy to handle because of their size and would never retaliate even when they are being hurt and in pain.
“They are abused because they are such a beautiful breed basically.”
She added: “I’ve met so many like minded friends campaigning for justice probably around 50 in total but each time one to three people have come with me. There are about 20 people helping me organize the outreach as we all feel so passionately about this.”96 per cent of the experiments fail. It’s barbaric and so very cruel.”The mums have their puppies taken away from them at four weeks old to then be put in cages on their own. There are in excess of around 2,000 including breeding mums.”You can hear the beagles very loudly from down the side of the sheds behind the razor wire whimpering, crying yelping.
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“They all deserve to be free but sadly, because they are bred for experimentation, they have no rights at all. The law needs to changed now. There is no need to test on animals. There are so many cruelty free options.”
In the 1970s beagles were found to have been subjected to nicotine testing and forced to smoke between six and 12 cigarettes per day in laboratories. They were chosen because they were docile and easy to keep in packs.
Tobacco testing on dogs was then subsequently banned in the UK in 1997.
The demonstrations have attracted the attention of celebrity animal rights campaigners, including comedian Ricky Gervais, and singer Will Young, who joined protesters in November.
Will Young slow his support to the cause by handcuffing himself to a gate in a one-man protest at the site in Huntingdon.
Last year comedian Ricky Gervais also called for an ‘immediate ban’ on the testing site.
The AFM has said it will hold a peaceful demonstration outside the Home Office next Monday, (June 27).
Vicky continued: “The Dutch government plan to end all animal testing by 2025. I feelwe should be ending it like them the sooner the better.
“I will not rest until I see an end to all animal testing.”
If you would like to join the free the beagles protest you can contact Vicky by email at [email protected]