The BUAV is calling on the Planning Inspectorate to reject an appeal by Bantin & Kingman to construct a new facility to breed and supply dogs to the research industry.
In 2012 and 2013, following a widespread BUAV campaign and resulting public outcry, which saw Brian May and Ricky Gervais join the BUAV campaign, an application by Bantin & Kingman Universal Ltd for a new beagle breeding facility was rejected by East Riding Council’s planning committee.
The BUAV’s Our Best Friends campaign is calling on the Government to ban all experiments on dogs and cats in the UK and includes requesting no further facilities are granted permission to breed dogs for the purpose of supplying laboratories.
The most recent government statistics report that 3,214 dogs suffered in 4,843 tests in Great Britain in 2012. This is a 6% increase in the number of dogs used compared to the previous year (2,865 in 2011), and a rise of 12% in the number of experiments carried out (4,552 in 2011).
Beagles are largely used in toxicity (poisoning) tests for drugs and chemicals. They can be force fed the substance in capsules or via plastic tubes inserted through their mouths, directly into their stomach or strapped into a harness for hours at a time while substances are pumped directly into their bloodstream. Animals can suffer adverse effects that result in vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and lethargy. Some dogs may become so ill that they either die or have to be euthanased for welfare purposes.
BUAV's Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: “We are dismayed to learn of this appeal by Bantin & Kingman to attempt to construct a beagle breeding and supply facility in Grimston. Only last year, following a high profile BUAV campaign, the application was rejected. We will once again be fighting this new action and calling on the public and our supporters to join us. There is a strong ethical and scientific case to end these outdated experiments and strong planning reasons to reject the appeal.”
An example of a beagle experiment carried out in the UK in recent years:
- In blood pressure drug research by Pfizer, beagles were forced to ingest a drug at various doses every day through a tube directly into their stomachs for up to nine months. The drug caused some of the dogs to experience serious signs which included vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and increased salivation. One of the high dose studies had to be stopped after just one week due to a serious side effect which interfered with blood clotting and led to internal bleeding. The dogs were then killed and their organs dissected. Various internal side effects were found upon dissection such as liver damage and enlarged thyroids. The drug was nonetheless marketed for human patients as Thelin™; it was withdrawn in 2010 because it caused severe liver damage in humans.
 An overview of the preclinical toxicity and potential carcinogenicity of sitaxentan (Thelin), a potent endothelin receptor antagonist developed for pulmonary arterial hypertension (2012). Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 64: 95-103. Pfizer UK and Pfizer USA