The RSPCA is investigating the welfare of beagles at the Hunts dog breeding unit

Published:
11:50 a.m. May 18, 2022



The RSPCA is ‘investigating’ an alleged welfare issue at Marshall BioResources near Huntingdon.

The animal charity, which can act as a private prosecutor but has no law enforcement powers, said it was aware of allegations that the dog breeding unit would have turned off the ventilation on a hot day yesterday (Tuesday 17th May).

Camp Beagle protesters oppose MBR Acres activity, and members claim a vent was sealed off with a bar as temperatures soared to 24C on the hottest day so far this year.


Police and protesters clash at MBR Acres, Wyton on August 15, 2021
– Credit: Terry Harris

MBR breeds dogs and other animals for biomedical research, which protesters oppose.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The RSPCA has received numerous calls and emails from people concerned about the welfare of beagles at MBR Acres.

“Video footage is also circulating which was taken at a range of establishments, in a number of different countries.

“We are deeply concerned about the use and potential suffering of any animal in research and testing.

“We care about all animals equally, but it can be especially upsetting to see animals like dogs, who are often valued members of the family, bred for research.”

They added: “The RSPCA opposes any experiments or procedures that cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.

“We cannot prevent the breeding or use of animals for experiments as this is legal in the UK.

“Whenever we receive calls regarding an installation, we contact them to find out what is going on.

“We have reviewed all videos associated with MBR Acres very carefully and discussed them directly with those responsible for this facility.

“We have been confirmed that staff visited the MBR Acres site daily and the dogs were cared for in the usual manner.”

The RSPCA investigates and tries to prosecute companies and individuals who break the law, but does not have the power to enforce the rules.

MBR at Wyton holds a license to keep animals under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

A statement on the company’s website reads: “Marshall BioResources is committed to maintaining high standards of animal welfare.

“We greatly respect and appreciate the role our animals continue to play in the development of life-saving discoveries, medicines and treatments for humans and animals. Therefore, we believe that our animals deserve the best possible treatment and care that we can. can provide.”

The statement adds that MBR’s UK sites comply with European Union international standards.

It reads: “We have also established our own fully compliant Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and we regularly review our Animal Care and Use Program to ensure we are serving our animals. in the best possible way.”

Camp Beagle protests began in 2021.

Anti-vivisection activists were sued by the MBR in the fall of 2021 after allegations that they harassed staff and prevented vehicles from entering the site.

On May 16, 2022, a High Court judge found protesters Michael Maher and Sammi Laidlaw in contempt of court because they admitted breaching an “exclusion zone” injunction.

Since the protest began, activists have won the support of Pop Idol winner Will Young, who chained himself to a perimeter fence in November 2021.


2002 Pop Idol winner Will Young chained to the closing of MBR Acres in November last year

2002 Pop Idol winner Will Young chained to the closing of MBR Acres in November last year
– Credit: Terry Harris