Protests over Grimston dog breeding plans

Campaigners opposed to plans for a beagle breeding facility in Grimston are staging a protest outside the site today.

It's to coincide with a visit from the planning inspector, who is considering B&K Universal's appeal to extend its premises so it can breed dogs for use in laboratory experiments on site - rather than bringing them in from overseas.

A petition against the expansion has gained over 130,000 signatures.
Alex Irving from Oppose B&K Universal says she's opposed to the plans because she believes animal testing is inherently flawed:

"On paper, it looks like it's about buildings, but you have to look at the wider picture here. It actually goes as far as public health, because using animals doesn't predict for the study of human disease, and for drug development."

"It actually means that we are not going to ever find discoveries to cure things like the chronic diseases that are on the rise; like Alzheimer's, like cancer. People are wrongly consenting to animal cruelty thinking it helps them, and in fact it's doing the opposite."

Grimston resident Cindy de Vries says she's opposed because she feels the expansion would damage the quality of life in the area:

"During they build period there'd obviously be an increase in traffic, and then any expansion of the facility would mean more dogs being taken out of the facility. The more dogs being bred on-site, they're not counting the amount of movement out of the facility, they're only counting it in."

"The quality of life will deteriorate due to noise, traffic, and the fact that we're a tiny rural hamlet. The size of this expansion will not fit in, and it's not suitable for this tiny, tiny area where a few of us live - we chose to live here for a peaceful existence, and that will be shattered."

But B&K Universal say the expansion, once complete, would reduce disruption to the surrounding community, as well as enable them to treat the dogs at the facility more humanely. David Gatehouse from the company says it's only a noisy minority that's opposed to the plans:

"We're seeking to raise animal welfare standards beyond legislative requirements by breeding beagles on-site, in a modernised unit, rather than flying them in from overseas as happens now. This would make for greater efficiencies and it would raise welfare standards."

"People who protest or complain are always louder than those who are content. A minority of people in the UK public don't like the use of animals in medical research, or seek to ban it. I don't think anyone would want it, but most people in this country accept the need for animal work in medical research."

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