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Police clash with animal rights activists

Battle of the beagles: Police clash with animal rights activists demanding release of 2,000 dogs breed for medical research at Huntingdon breeding site

  • Animal welfare campaigners gathered outside a beagle breeding farm near RAF Wyton, Huntingdon, today
  • Calling on breeding farm to release some 2,000 beagle puppies that are being reared for testing at the site 
  • Comes just weeks after actors Ricky Gervais, 60, and Peter Egan, 74, backed calls to shut the breeding farm

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Hundreds of animal welfare campaigners gathered outside a beagle breeding farm today to protest against the use of the dogs in laboratory testing.  

Demonstrators clashed with police as they arrived outside MBR Acres near RAF Wyton, Huntingdon, to call for the release of some 2,000 beagle puppies being reared for testing at the site – which is owned by US-based company Marshall BioResources. 

The scenes come just weeks after actors Ricky Gervais, 60, and Peter Egan, 74, backed calls to shut the breeding farm. 

Earlier today, hundreds of protesters held placards as they lined up outside the breeding site and called for an end to medical research on dogs while others were seen clashing with officers. 

Animal welfare campaigners clash with police as they gather outside a beagle breeding farm outside MBR Acres near RAF Wyton, Huntingdon, today

Police officer stand in a line as they watch over the Camp Beagle protesters who are calling for the release of some 2,000 beagle puppies being reared for testing at the site

Police officer stand in a line as they watch over the Camp Beagle protesters who are calling for the release of some 2,000 beagle puppies being reared for testing at the site 

The breeding site, which is owned by US-based company Marshall BioResources, has come under fire from protesters

The breeding site, which is owned by US-based company Marshall BioResources, has come under fire from protesters 

Road blocks were also placed up to allow protesters to safely rally and let employees continue their work at the site – which is not connected to Huntingdon life sciences.

In a Facebook video, one activist said:  ‘We’re all so united, so happy. We all know we’re going to close this for good. Everyone’s come here, we’ve got one aim and one vision, and we are all united here.’

Another Facebook post read: ‘If anyone is heading down could you please bring some water for yourselves We’re running a little low and wouldn’t want you to get caught short.

‘We can still feed and provide refreshments for you no fear, it’s just looking like a hot day so extra hydration is important.’

Earlier this month, actor Ricky Gervais called for an ‘immediate ban’ on the testing site as protesters descended upon the breeding farm with their tens and called for its closure.

He told The Times: ‘These experiments are now proven to entirely fail the search for human treatments and cures,’ Gervais told

‘We need an immediate ban on this shocking animal cruelty, which is clearly holding back medical progress.’    

A protester is detained by police as hundreds of demonstrators gather outside the breeding farm and call for its closure

A protester is detained by police as hundreds of demonstrators gather outside the breeding farm and call for its closure 

A protester holds a placard as she walks through the streets and calls for the release of some 2,000 dogs at the site

A protester holds a placard as she walks through the streets and calls for the release of some 2,000 dogs at the site 

Police officers stand outside the site and watch over the protesters as hundreds of campaigners gather outside

Police officers stand outside the site and watch over the protesters as hundreds of campaigners gather outside

Demonstrators hold placards in the air as they protest agains the use of beagles being used for medical research

Demonstrators hold placards in the air as they protest agains the use of beagles being used for medical research

In a statement a spokesperson for MBR Acres 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.’

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