Fighting for the Yorkshire beagles in the High Court
Cruelty Free International takes legal action against the Home Office
Did you know tens of thousands of dogs are imprisoned in laboratories around the world, and injected with or force-fed substances? They can suffer horrific effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, organ damage, seizures, paralysis and even death.
These poor animals are often supplied by purpose-built breeding facilities, which churn out litter after litter of puppies. They are then separated from their mothers and sent off to be experimented on. Their mothers, meanwhile, are generally kept as ‘breeding machines’ until they no longer ‘serve a purpose’ and are killed.
Cruelty Free International has been campaigning for almost five years to stop the expansion of a beagle farm in Yorkshire, England, and we urgently need your help.
The story so far
- In 2011 animal breeding and rearing company, Bantin & Kingman Ltd (B&K), applied for planning permission to expand its Yorkshire beagle farm. This was so that it could breed thousands of dogs for experiments. But, following intensive campaigning, the application was rejected. The rejection was on the grounds that B&K had not provided enough information on how it would manage the noise from the dogs, which could be a ‘nuisance’ for local residents.
- In 2013 B&K made a fresh application which addressed some of the planning concerns that had been raised previously. But part of its proposal to manage noise was to ensure dogs were not given any access to outdoor runs. However, EU law requires dog breeding establishments to provide dogs with outside access wherever possible. So it was no longer just a planning issue; there were legal implications too. B&K therefore needed permission from the UK Home Office not to have outside runs.
- Astonishingly, B&K later claimed that denying dogs outdoor runs was to protect their health and ensure they were suitable for experiments. (They said this even though in the past dogs at the site did have outdoor runs, with no problems).
- In mid-2015, Cruelty Free International was shocked to discover that the Home Office had granted B&K permission to keep dogs indoors at all times. This was on the basis that outdoor runs could compromise their health by exposing them to infections carried by wildlife. This could in turn, it was claimed, invalidate the results of laboratory tests.
- The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, who was overseeing the planning appeal, was then satisfied that there would not be a noise issue for locals (with dogs being kept indoors). So he approved B&K’s planning application to expand.
This means that denying dogs access to outdoor runs for ‘health reasons’ conveniently removed the noise nuisance problem that had so far prevented B&K’s application from progressing.
A violation of EU law
We firmly believe that had the Home Office not authorised B&K to keep dogs indoors at all times, the application would probably have been rejected by the Secretary of State. This would mean B&K would not be allowed to expand and breed thousands of dogs for use in experiments.
The decision is an outrage and strongly suggests the Home Office wanted to support B&K’s planning appeal. It has failed to carry out ‘due diligence’ in order to make a reasoned judgement. For example, it has not cited any evidence regarding infections to support its claims.
So not only is it cruel to deny dogs access to fresh air, but we believe the decision is a violation of EU law.
Taking the Home Office to court
Cruelty Free International has launched legal proceedings against the Home Office decision. We have now been given the green light by a judge to take our case to a full hearing in court.
This is our last chance to fight for the Yorkshire beagles and we urgently need your support.
We can’t do it without you.
Photographs from a past Cruelty Free International investigation at a breeding facility supplying dogs to laboratories: