Protestors have gathered outside the Labcorp site in Harrogate.
The demonstrations formed the fourth event in recent weeks held at the site by Vivisection Exposed, a group who oppose animal experimentation, and concerned local people.
Labcorp was formally Covance and at one time featured weekly protests outside the facility.
Around 20 people attended the demonstration. They held banners with slogans such as ‘end animal experiments’, ‘free the MBR beagles’ and ‘animals are here with us, not for us’.
The Labcorp Otley Road site is a contract testing laboratory, which carries out laboratory tests for other companies. One of the purposes of the facility is to administer toxicology tests on animals, including beagle puppies, non-human primates, mini pigs, rabbits and mice. Toxicology tests are used to determine the toxicity of a substance, whether that is fertiliser, medicine or other commercial goods.
Those in opposition to the practice of animal testing, also known as vivisection, have long argued that these tests are cruel and unnecessary. While supporters often argue that they are a necessary step in a product’s development.
Jane Rose, who attended the demo, said:
It’s truly awful what is happening to the animals inside these labs. Despite the mounting scientific evidence that animal testing does not produce results, the government still allow companies like Labcorp and others to profit from carrying out horrific tests on animals.
Beagle puppies are basically poisoned here and discarded on a relentless conveyor belt.
Any compassionate person must surely think this is wrong?
There has been a recent resurgence in the opposition to animal testing, largely following the release of undercover footage taken by the ‘Free the MBR beagles’ campaign in The Mirror, showing beagle puppies that had been bred to be sold to contract testing laboratories at sixteen weeks old. The breeding site in Cambridgeshire, known as MBR Acres, has since been the attention of protestors who have set up ‘Camp Beagle’ at the roadside for the last month.
A spokesperson for Labcorp said:
Labcorp Drug Development takes very seriously our ethical and regulatory responsibilities to treat research animals with the greatest care and respect.
In addition to being the right thing to do, the proper care of research animals is fundamental to sound scientific research and the ability to develop life-saving and life-enhancing new medicines for cancer, deadly infections, heart disease, leukemia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and many other disabling diseases.
New drugs must be tested in animals before human clinical trials to ensure the safety of patients and volunteers and there are clear links between excellent animal welfare and medical breakthroughs.
MBR Acres is a beagle breeding site in Huntingdon, which rears dogs specifically for animal research, campaigners are calling for it to be closed down.
On Tuesday last week, MBR Acres again made the press as police arrived en masse to escort two delivery vans in and out of site to take beagles to labs.
The camp has attracted much local and national attention in its campaign to ‘Free the MBR Beagles’, including vocal support from celebrities Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan. The actors are patrons of the charity For Life on Earth, who launched Early Day Motion 175 into parliament in a double page spread in the Mirror, alongside the undercover footage of beagle puppies.
As explained on the For Life on Earth website,
“Parliamentary EDM 175 enables MPs to call for medical evidence to be heard, which will prove beyond doubt that animal experiments are failing the search for human treatments and cures and should be abandoned without delay. It calls for the Government to mandate a rigorous public scientific hearing, judged by independent experts from the relevant science fields, to stop the false claims about human medicine which continue to fund animal testing. The EDM’s hearing is unique and historic because a panel of expert scientists will judge its outcome, including experts from the fields of clinical medicine
Leading scientific journals are reporting on the failure of animal models, including The British Medical Journal which published its Editor’s Choice in June 2014, titled How Predictive and Productive is Animal Research? This article concluded by quoting from the paper it cited: ‘If research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced’.
For Life on Earth call on members of the public to support EDM 175 via their webpage.
Vivisection Exposed and Free the MBR Beagles both regularly update their social media followers about upcoming events and campaign progress.