Blocking the Breeding of Beagles is Bad for their Well-Being

While 2013 might be the Chinese year of the Snake, it might be reasonably described as the European year of the research beagle. In the last few years beagles have been moving towards the top of the animal rights agenda. In 2012, activists broke into Marshall breeding facility in Milan, Italy, and carried out dozens of dogs in plain view of the police (2,700 further dogs were then given away by the courts). However, 2013 has seen campaigns reach new heights (and this is list is not exhaustive):

  • February – activists began a campaign to prevent research dogs owned by AstraZeneca being moved from a facility in Sweden (being closed down) to a lab in the UK.
  • March – activists blockade the attempted transport of 8 beagles by Menarini, an Italian pharmaceutical company. The company capitulates to demands and gives away the dogs.
  • April – five activists break into a Dutch breeding facility and “liberate” six dogs.
  • June – the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (UK animal rights lobby group) started its “Our Best Friends” campaign to ban the use of dogs and cats in research.
  • August – the Italian Senate passed a law banning the breeding of dogs for research.
  • October – Oppose B&K Universal ramp up their second campaign against the extension of beagle breeding facility in Hull, UK.
  • October – 200 dogs are “liberated” from a laboratory in Brazil by activists
Beagles were "liberated" from Green Hill in Italy in full view of police

Beagles were “liberated” from Green Hill in Italy in full view of police

The two incidents of particular interest are the breeding ban in Italy and the campaign against expanding a breeding facility in Hull. Both of these incidents show activists putting an animal rights agenda above that of animal welfare.

Dogs are not only use in safety testing, where we screen for the safety and toxicity of chemicals and drugs to be released into the population (so called animal testing), but also in the understanding of diseases and development of treatments (so called animal research).  We should make a clear distinction between these two activities. Examples of the crucial role that dogs have played in medical advances include the development of ECG,  insulinheart transplant surgery and treatments for prostate cancer.  Most of modern internal medicine relies on knowledge we gained from dogs .  They continue to be used for research into stem cell treatments and spinal injury.

The UK currently imports 25% of dogs used in research (the rest are bred at breeding facilities overseen by the British Home Office inspectors). The expanded facility in Hull hopes to reduce the numbers bred abroad. Italy may soon have to breed all its dogs abroad if current laws are not struck down by the EU.

If an animal is bred abroad it must undertake a long and stressful journey from its breeding facility to its destination research facility. This is not a positive step for animal welfare. The further the distance (e.g. different countries) between breeder and research institution, the more damaging it is to the animal’s welfare. When this is coupled with the ongoing campaign to prevent animals being transported by air (and in the UK, the ferries, which are seen as the best welfare option to move animals from mainland Europe into the UK) we see a concerted effort by activists to put the principles of animal rights above the welfare of animals.

29 responses to “Blocking the Breeding of Beagles is Bad for their Well-Being


    • I agree – though I think the point would have been made better without capital letters

    • You are right, Doug. Animals have Type 1 Diabetes as well and it is very tough to keep them healthy. Left untreated, diabetes is a terrible disease and can cause widespread organ failure. It is hard to convince your cat you are trying to help them when you poke them with a needle twice a day to give them their insulin.

  2. This is a major step in the wrong direction. Without these animals, we would not have had many huge steps forward in the path to finding a cure to many things, including Type 1 Diabetes. Beagles have had a staring role in the quest for a cure for decades and it seems we are now on the cusp of finding a real cure! If they can be cured, we are much closer to curing ourselves.

  3. Once again vivisectionists only care about your money and your fame and don’t care one iota about the suffering you put these animals through. You are heartless and cruel and every time I read your posts, it just hits me more and more how cold, calculating and maniacal you are. You have no compassion except for your own careers and financial well being. Beagles do not deserve to exist in the Hell you have created for them. Not one word in this screed about what you actually do to these poor dogs. And I’m sure Tom or “Dario” will say how I don’t understand, and how I am “anthropomorphizing” them and they don’t really have feelings, or worth or that I shouldn’t think of them the same way I do humans. Funny you care about how “stressful” the journey is, but not the stress you put them through by putting coils in their eyes, or electrodes on their brains, or sewing their eyes shut, or any of the other torments you put them through. I can’t understand how people can be so downright vile and sadistic. “The further the distance (e.g. different countries) between breeder and research institution, the more damaging it is to the animal’s welfare” that’s a really funny quote coming from Tom Holder.

    • This post has nothing to do with money or fame, so quit your rhetoric and deal with the post at hand.

      Tom and “Dario” are clearly different people – look at the committee page. , so no need for speech marks.

      Researchers care about the stress of animals over their lives – including transport and in research. This is because they empathise with the suffering of animals, and because stressed animals do not make for good science.
      You say something like “electrodes in the brain”, yet we do the same to humans – it’s a treatment for Parkinson’s called Deep Brain Stimulation (developed in monkeys). The brain does not have nerve endings and cannot feel pain – so while it sounds shocking to say “electrodes in the brain” it is not painful it itself. Suffering is more likely from the operation to implant the electrodes, which is why such operations are likely to be done under anaesthesia or analgesia.

      • The fact is, a human being that willingly undergoes a brain surgery to implant electrodes suffer much less than an animal to whom it is done without any means of understanding what is being done to it.
        If you think it is such a pleasant experience, then why don’t you give a year or so of your life to further research, living in a cage while scientists do similar experiments on you?

      • I know you are separate “people.”

  4. “Beagles have had a staring role in the quest for a cure for decades” why aren’t you honest about that, “Beagles have been tortured and torn apart and dissected and made to suffer unbearable pain and had their lives ended in the name of science for decades by researchers making six digit sums.”

      • And this purports to do what? It shows a sanitized view of course. It doesn’t talk about what happens to the animals, or the actual procedures done. It doesn’t talk about the suffering or pain of animals. This video adds nothing, it’s a fluff piece. Animal research should stop, it is responsible for the killing and maiming of animals for human benefit and that cannot be tolerated. So all the videos in the world can’t justify them. But you go on making your profits and getting your research grants and riving your BMWs while you tear animals apart and put coils on their eyes. It’s all evil, no matter how you try and explain it away, or the sanitized videos of animals you are preparing to torture and kill. “Caretakers” should really be “torturer-in-training.” Be honest about what you do instead of trying to hide it, which is what this video is doing.

  5. I whole heartily disagree. I love the dogs I’m privileged to work with and care for. They and the hope they inspire are why I come to work. I believe the majority of my colleagues feel the same.

    • You know, you could just rescue a pet from the local shelter… You don’t need animal research to interact with animals… Or better yet, get a job at an animal shelter! But those don’t pay very well….

  6. Oh you love them enough that you are fine killing and torturing them. That’s love right there.

    • My loved companion Karla gave the gift of life to countless other dogs as a blood donor at a veterinary hospital. She gave the gift of hope to those suffering from mucopolysaccharidosis by providing cell lines to researchers to improve therapies. Karla touched the lives of so many in her long and loved life that our lives are richer for having her in our family. If you’re interested in reading about Karla and her sister I encourage you to:

      • That is great for Karla, but what about the millions of others that are not so lucky? Those used to test the effects of poisons? Or those whose backs are broken just to see how or if an experimental drug with unknown side-effects will affect the way it will grow back?

  7. What you are talking about is noble and respectable and quite different from the horror show that usually goes on.It doesn’t sound like Karla was hurt in anyway, which is quite different from the macabre things done to cats, mice, dogs, and monkeys, by a certain person’s vision experiments for example.

    • From my experience ethically conducted animal research is not as you describe. Karla participated in studies with procedures that are similar to the vast majority of research animals. The same level of discomfort as a vaccination and blood collection.

  8. But she wasn’t tortured or killed was she, which is how 99% of these “research” subjects wind up.

    • I believe that with the exception of being humanely euthanized at the completion of the study her experience was very similar to the majority of research animals.

  9. Oh, but she didn’t have her eyes sewn shut. And she wasn’t given pills that could kill her and that make her foam at the mouth. And she wasn’t punched or thrown against the wall. Or given sensory deprivation. She wasn’t addicted to cigarettes either, was she?

    • Anyone that punches or throws an animal against a wall is breaking the law and should be arrested. I contend that the vast majority of animals in studies have experiences as I’ve described above.

  10. You are of course correct Dario, the fact that the animals are still being used in the research and testing is the real problem. Perhaps you should change the heading to: Instead of banning the breeding of beagles, they should ban the use of beagles in testing!
    But yes, I guess banning the breading for testing is the best they could do for now. They are clearly also trying to ban all means of transport. Once they have banned both the breading and all means of transport they will in effect have succeeded in banning the testing. So, even though at the moment it may (or may not) have a negative effect on the animals, in the long run the goal is the correct one.
    Additionally, this will probably increase the cost of acquiring beagles for testing purposes, so it should reduce the amount used for financial reasons. So I think adding some additional discomfort to the animals who are doomed for a worse fate in any case is offset by this reduction.

  11. One final point I’d like to make is that all pet breeding should be banned until there are no more animals in need of adoption. Puppy mills is a topic that can be discussed at length, with horrible conditions, inbreeding resulting in genetic defects etc. etc.

  12. “The two incidents of particular interest are the breeding ban in Italy and the campaign against expanding a breeding facility in Hull. Both of these incidents show activists putting an animal rights agenda above that of animal welfare”. Go on website Tom, listen to the media Tom, If any thing they are exposing small minded people like you, who is after fame and are responsible for delaying cures for humans, you would lose hands down speaking with scientists, how many times have the media said you a scientist? and you have let them, you are a joke?, don’t you realise how serious this is?. Get your oxford application out and show us that, then everyone will realise what you are all about.

  13. Dave,
    I don’t believe I’ve ever been described as a scientist by the media – I’ve never pretended to be. I much prefer when scientists are the ones who do the media because they are the best placed to talk about the research. I’m not sure what my education has to do with anything? I got involved with this during university, not before.

    Given the importance of animals to medical research, it is not me delaying treatments.

  14. Well you certainly are fooling people here, Why did you not turn down this interview and ask a scientist to speak out, you must know some surely.

    • No scientist from Cardiff was available to speak. Many scientists are sadly still reluctant to speak to the media about their animal research.

  15. Animals have nothing to do with human troubles and should not be involved in fixing them. You have diabetes? Stop eating crap and sitting on the couch. You are a sick person, I’d like to see the procedures that these dogs go through done on you. THAT would make me happy.

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