Open Letter Calls for Government U-Turn on Laboratory Beagle Breeding Centre

(Kennel Club Press Release) FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) and the Kennel Club have sent an open letter to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government The Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP calling on him and the Government to reverse their decision to grant planning permission for a laboratory beagle breeding centre in East Yorkshire.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council rejected the planning application from B&K Universal in 2013 after thousands of campaigners signed a petition objecting to the proposal, but the decision was overturned by the Secretary of State after an appeal by estate managers Yorkshire Evergreen on behalf of B&K.

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FRAME was founded in 1969 to enable and support the timely development and use of scientifically valid methods which provide reliable data and replace the need for animal experiments.

The Kennel Club is the UK’s largest organisation dedicated to the welfare of dogs and campaigns on a range of dog welfare issues, including the use of dogs in animal testing. It offers owners and breeders information and advice on dog health, training, activities and breeding.

Text of the letter is below:

Dear Sir,

We are surprised and very disappointed that the government has chosen to overturn the decision of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and to grant planning permission to B&K Universal site, at Grimston near Aldbrough, for breeding dogs intended for research use. The key question that needs to be asked and addressed satisfactorily by the government is: why is breeding of dogs on this site considered necessary and in the national interest?

It is conceivable that one objective is to help support biomedical research on dogs that currently is considered necessary to develop safe new medicines (to treat human (or animal) diseases not adequately treated by currently available medicines). If so, this should be explained.

A perceived need to undertake critical scientific research on dogs in the short term must, in turn, focus the attention of the government, the scientific funding agencies and the scientific community on prioritising work on alternative approaches. There are methods that could be more effective than studies on dogs, and could replace use of these animals in the medium and longer term.

Many promising non-animal technologies use human tissues and so may be more relevant to human diseases than animal procedures. In fact, very substantial progress has already been made and UK scientists have been taking a leading role internationally in this area. They need more support.

One direct beneficiary of effective new non-animal methods will be UK and international pharmaceutical companies. Currently these struggle to bring forward safe new medicines using conventional approaches, which include use of animal procedures. The other major direct beneficiary will be the UK public. Right now, they can be exposed to medicines that may cause severe unwanted side-effects not predicted by the safety studies undertaken in dogs and other animals.

If animals bred at the site will not be used to help develop new medicines, then any possible justification becomes even more difficult to understand and support. Animal procedures cannot now be undertaken in the UK and Europe when assessing the human safety of cosmetics.

A similar ban on safety testing household products on animals is scheduled for introduction in the UK in October. Instead, a variety of scientifically valid, non-animal approaches have been developed and are being used. Work on non-animal approaches that can replace the need for human safety testing of other chemicals is also now being undertaken, is well advanced and needs to be prioritised more highly. Continued use of animal procedures for chemical safety testing needs to be discouraged and replaced, not made easier.

Therefore we ask that the government reconsider its decision and instead focus its support on scientifically valid methods that can replace animal procedures.

Yours faithfully

FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) and The Kennel Club

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