Around 40 protesters from across the UK gathered at Humberside Airport on Sunday in a demonstration against beagle puppies being exported for ‘cruel’ animal testing abroad.
The animal rights activists claim Cambridge-based MBR Acres breeding facility is using the airport to transport the puppies to Ireland for sale in the research industry.
It comes after a video posted on social media by ‘Free The MBR Beagles’ allegedly shows puppies from the breeding site being loaded onto a Bin Air flight.
A spokesperson for the protest, from Hull Animal Rights Team, said: “The aim, yesterday, was to promote public awareness and to send a message to the airport to stop their involvement in laboratory tests on beagles.
“Beagles are taken at 16 weeks old and used in toxicity tests where they will be forced to inhale and ingest chemicals leading to heart failure. The process which lasts between 28 to 90 days is slow and agonising and always leads to death.
“Beagles are used in these tests because the breed is docile and loving, but these dogs will never be able to express their loving disposition or know a kind hand, only a steel cage and hands that poison.”
The activists claim there are alternative tests available for researchers, which don’t involve any suffering to animals.
The spokesperson said: “Animal tests are unreliable and expensive. Alternatives to animal tests include invitro methods, advanced computer modelling techniques, and studies with human volunteers.
“These are reliable since they are not hindered by cross species differences. They are cheaper, too. Most importantly they involve no animal suffering.
“Public support for the demonstration was evident in the many vehicles which passed by tooting with people raising their thumbs in approval and shouting encouraging words.”
A spokeswoman for MBR previously said: “We adhere to rigorous legislation through the strictest inspection routines for the breeding of laboratory animals at our facilities. Animal welfare is always our top priority.
“The UK has the most demanding regulations in the world – placing greater requirements on those who propose using animals in medical research than any other territory and demanding the highest welfare standards.
“The overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion is that animals are needed in a small percentage of medical research projects and that results from testing in dogs, when combined with work in other species, provide data that best predict human responses to drugs.
“Governments internationally take note of this and legally demand the use of animals where science advises that it is necessary.
“This issue is revisited regularly because it is an important one, but it is worth remembering that we exist only because successive UK governments, including the current one, demand that all potential medicines are tested in animals before being given to humans and animals.”