July 16, 2016
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt. Hon Greg Clark MP, overrides local council and gives permission to B&K Universal, Yorkshire Evergreen   to expand beagle and ferret breeding facility, despite over 100,000 people signing against it. B&K Universal, Yorkshire Evergreen is owned by US multinational animal supplier, Marshall BioResource , which also owns Green Hill – a now-closed laboratory animal breeding facility in Italy. During 2012, 3,000 beagles were seized from Green Hill and, in January 2015, managers and the company vet were convicted for the illegal killing of beagle puppies and adult dogs, as well as for animal abuse .
Animal Justice Project strongly condemns, and is outraged by, the decision by Greg Clark to give planning permission to expand the laboratory beagle and ferret breeding facility in Grimston, East Yorkshire, where thousands of dogs and other animals will be bred and sold to laboratories. B&K Universal has attempted to push through plans for a laboratory breeding facility since 2011 , appealing multiple rejections.
The decision comes as a shock move amidst widespread local and national opposition to the expansion. Over 100,000 people have signed a petition opposing plans , celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Brian May and Peter Egan have voiced opposition, and it goes against a government policy to reduce the numbers of animals used in experiments . It comes despite the fact that the same company was closed down in Italy this year, and managers convicted of animal abuse crimes .
In January 2015, Marshall BioResources managers, including Ghislaine Rondot, European Executive Manager and Director of B&K Universal UK and Yorkshire Evergreen, was convicted and sentenced, pending appeal, of one year six months in jail for the illegal killing of animals and animal abuse . Professional activities of hers were also suspended for two years in Italy.
At Green Hill, approximately 3,000 beagles were seized by Italian authorities in 2012; Puppies and dogs were killed when affected by non-lethal diseases such as dermatitis to reduce costs and because they were deemed ‘unsuitable’ for the research sector; over a 100 frozen carcasses of dogs and puppies were also found inside a freezer by the authorities. Finally, between 2008 and 2012, 6,023 deaths of beagles were recorded inside Green Hill, an overwhelming number.
Rondot was replaced on the 30th of June as European Director of B&K Marshall . According to Animal Justice Project’s Italian spokesperson Helen Dufton:
“The sudden replacement of Ghislaine Rondot, as European Director of B&K, clearly appears to be a strategic move given her conviction was more than 6 months ago and given the imminent decision by the UK government over the fate of 2,000 beagles in Yorkshire. A move to sweep under the carpet the abuses that occurred behind the walls of the company’s laboratory breeding farm Green Hill in Italy. A company that knowingly carried out procedures that caused suffering to beagles. A company whose care towards animals in their Green Hill facility according to magistrates was “inadequate, untimely, ineffective and short-lived.”
In 2013, 3,554 dogs were used in experiments in the UK. This is an increase of 10% from the previous year . The majority of whom were beagles which are used because of their docile nature. Almost all of these dogs are killed at the end of toxicological studies involving, for example poisoning with pesticides, chemicals and other toxic substances.
“Animal Justice Project is against the use of all animals in experiments. The government’s decision to allow B&K Universal to expand and breed animals for this purpose is against public opinion, and a direct contradiction of government policy which highlights a commitment to reduce and replace the use of animals in experiments. It is an ethically and morally indefensible decision, especially given the fact that this company and its managers have been convicted of animal abuse and the illegal killing of beagle puppies and dogs in Italy”.
Animal Justice Project is an international organisation based in the UK and United States working to raise awareness on the plight of animals in laboratories around the globe.
References on request