Celebrities Brian May and Peter Egan have joined the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in opposing controversial plans to build a facility in Yorkshire to breed beagle dogs for experiments.

Queen guitarist Brian May made an urgent appeal to Secretary of State Greg Clark who has final say over the plans, “There is no justification for forcing dogs to suffer in experiments. Please do the right thing and reject these cruel plans.”

Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan voiced concerns about the dog farm, saying “The fate of hundreds of dogs hangs in the balance. With science moving away from crude animal tests, it makes no sense to approve these plans and consign man’s best friend to a life of suffering in the laboratory.”

The NAVS campaign is also supported by BBC Radio 2 presenter Mark Radcliffe.

Yorkshire Evergreen plans would see a farm built in Grimston, Yorkshire, where hundreds of dogs and other animals would be bred and sold to laboratories.

The company is owned by US multinational animal supplier Marshall BioResources and has attempted to push through plans for a laboratory breeding facility for over two years, appealing multiple rejections.

Yorkshire Evergreen’s director was convicted of illegally killing and mistreating animals earlier this year by an Italian court.

Similar plans to breed beagles on the same site were blocked last year after causing a public outcry in the local community and across the UK, with tens of thousands of people signing petitions and speaking out in opposition.

A final decision on the latest appeal is expected on or before 18 June. Speaking ahead of the announcement, NAVS President Jan Creamer said, “Brian May and Peter Egan’s support comes at a crucial time, as Yorkshire Evergreen’s unwanted and unnecessary plans are considered once again. The NAVS urges the Secretary of State to dismiss these deadly plans and do the right thing in the name of science, the public and the animals who will be destined to suffer if the facility goes ahead.”

Latest statistics show that 3,554 dogs were experimented on in Britain, marking a 10% rise from the year before. Being small and docile, beagles are preferred test subjects. Dogs are commonly used for ‘toxicology’ experiments where they may be force-fed chemicals and have toxic substances pumped into their veins which can make them so sick that they die in agony. Almost all individuals are killed at the end of the experiment.

Science is moving away from using animals with far more advanced alternatives available. In addition, public support for animal experiments has fallen and the Government has pledged to reduce the number of animals in experiments.

The plans are liable to disrupt the village and local community, subjecting Grimston locals to sound pollution and damaged verges during building work and disruption afterwards as young beagles are transported off to their fates in laboratories, and the facility deals with the delivery of supplies and increased disposal of animal waste.

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