- The Home Office
- Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead
Rt Hon Theresa May MP
- Home Secretary
Rt Hon Theresa May MP
I am writing this letter to implore the Home Office to order the immediate closure of Harlan UK's beagle breeding site 'Interfauna' in Wyton, Cambridgeshire and its 'donor beagle' site 'Hillcrest' in Belton, Loughborough.
Harlan are the country’s last remaining breeders of beagles for use in vivisection, and if the immediate closure of the two aforementioned sites is not possible, a public inquiry into Harlan's treatment of sentient beings should be held as a matter of urgency.
I strongly oppose Harlan UK because of the following:
• Harlan have been exposed for gross animal cruelty and neglect on several occasions. The most recent exposé was published by The Sunday Times in 2011. The exposé included an eye-witness account from a former employee who recalled the appalling conditions in which beagles are kept and the shockingly inhumane treatment they receive at the hands of Harlan staff
• A quote from aforementioned employee: "One of the trainers went into a pen and held down a dog with his knee. He was kicking the dog while he held it down to try to subdue it. Then he started punching it and then he held it up by the throat and said to it: 'so are you going to stop?’" He also witnessed co-workers laughing as they shaved profanities into beagles’ fur and daubed their faces with felt tips
• It was also revealed that Harlan beagles never see daylight or breathe fresh air. They exist in overcrowded, dirty pens with cold concrete floors. No bedding, no toys, just sawdust. Stressed beagles fight to the death, and self-harming by frightened dogs is rife. Injured beagles (deemed ‘non-conforming products’) are routinely slaughtered and disposed of in bin bags
• In 2010, the document titled 'The Coalition: Our Programme for Government' stated: “We will end the testing of household products on animals and work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research”. The Government has reneged on this promise. Latest Home Office statistics show that in 2011, experiments involving animals reached a record high. Over 3.79 million experiments were started on animals in 2011; a 68,100 increase on 2010 and a 160,000 increase on 1987 (i.e. since The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was first introduced). In 2011, 216% more animals – including beagles – were used to test food additives than in the previous year. (Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Great Britain 2011)
• I have been made increasingly aware of the growing number of scientists and biomedical researchers exposing animal experiments as an obsolete research methodology, incapable of producing positive benefits for human health because of substantial evolutionary biological differences. An excerpt from the presentation 'Why Animal Models Fail' by Dr Mark Tricklebank of Lilly Research Laboratories (Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders, Washington, March 2012): “There is a real species gap such that the systems being manipulated in experimental animals can never predict outcomes in man"
• Adverse reactions to ‘animal-approved’ prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the western world and cost the NHS around £466 million a year (British Medical Journal, 2004;329:15-19)
• 83% of GPs would support an independent scientific evaluation of the clinical relevance of animal experimentation (2004 survey of UK GPs commissioned by patient advocacy group Europeans for Medical Progress)
• It is not only scientists, GPs and victims of adverse drugs reactions who are demanding the modernisation of drug safety testing, MPs such as Caroline Lucas, David Amess, Paul Flynn, Mike Hancock CBE, Bob Russell and Julian Huppert have all been vocal in their support for ‘testing the tests’. With 160 MP signatures, the Early Day Motion (EDM 475) calling for safer medicines was among the most-signed 1% of over 3,000 EDMs in the 2010-12 session of Parliament. Why is nobody listening?
• Britain considers itself to be an animal-loving nation; with organisations such as the RSPCA purporting to protect our animals from suffering and neglect. Why, if the RSPCA and the police are called to investigate domestic animal abuse and courts sentence those responsible for such ill-treatment, are Harlan being allowed to breed beagles in squalor and then sell them to laboratories where they will die long and lingering deaths?
Harlan UK are not breeding and selling beagles in my name. I oppose breeding sentient beings for use in animal experiments and believe it is the Home Office’s duty to consider public opinion on this issue.
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