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  • Animal Rebellion

18 Beagle Puppies Freed From Life of Suffering as Rescuers Vow to Put ‘Animal Testing on Trial’

Updated: Jun 27

  • In the early hours of Tuesday 20th December, 18 beagles were freed from Cambridgeshire animal testing breeding facility, MBR Acres.

  • An additional 2 dogs have been seized by Cambridgeshire Police on their way off-site, and the group are negotiating their release to a sanctuary.

  • The animal rescuers could be seen wearing T-shirts that read “Put Animal Testing On Trial” and “What Would You Do If This Was Your Dog?” on the front and rear, respectively.

  • The facility breeds around 2,000 beagles each year destined for animal testing in the UK and abroad.

  • The group say they intend to put ‘animal testing on trial’ and that a jury finding them not guilty of any wrongdoing will send a clear message that testing on beagles and other animals cannot continue.

At around 05:30, Tuesday 20th December, 12 supporters of Animal Rebellion entered an animal testing breeding facility and freed 18 beagles in the largest ever "open rescue" in the UK. They remained on-site to accept responsibility for the action, risking a maximum sentence of 10-years if convicted ofburglary.

One of the rescuers, Louisa Hillwood, 28, a Primary School Teacher who lives in Hackney, said:

"The sheds at MBR Acres are full of puppies barking and crying, waiting in terror for the day they are taken to be experimented on, hurt, and killed. No one would choose that life for themselves or any other animal. All that suffering is ultimately for nothing. We've been led to believe that animal testing is necessary, but that is simply not true. There are better alternatives.
Putting animal testing on trial is acknowledging that nonhuman animals feel pain just as we do; it is recognising that they deserve love and care just as all of us do. I want 12 ordinary people to have the opportunity to consign animal testing to the dark pages of history books.
I grew up alongside an animal, and when I imagine him being used like this I feel sick. If the beautiful animals used for testing were your companions, what would you do?"

Cambridgeshire Constabulary are currently at the scene and one arrest has been made so far. Two of the dogs, named ‘Love’ and ‘Liberty’ by the rescuers, were intercepted by police and are currently held in the back of a cruiser. The group are asking for the police to release the dogs to a sanctuary as they are considered ‘contaminated’ and no longer able to be used in testing [1].

The site, MBR Acres, is responsible for breeding around 2,000 beagles each year to be sold for animal testing at 16 weeks old. The company also holds ‘bleeding licences’ which allow them to bleed healthy dogs to death to harvest their blood and organs [2]. The site has previously come under fire for welfare breaches with recorded fly infestations, unhygienic buildings, lack of bedding, and dogs without access to outdoor spaces or enrichment [3].

Supporters of the group previously rescued 5 beagles from the facility in June but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the burglary charges after 2 weeks [4].

Dr Lindsay Marshall, biomedical science advisor to the Humane Society International UK recently stated “The UK cannot expect to have world-leading science innovation whilst we rely on failing animal-based research methods that are rooted in the past.” [5] Reliable alternatives to animal testing include testing on lab-grown stem cells or ‘organs-on-a-chip’ [6].

In 2021, 3.06 million instances of animal testing were recorded in the UK, a 6% increase on last year. 4,016 of these tests were carried out on beagles like those bred by MBR Acres [7]. Other species subject to testing include cats, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and monkeys. The procedures often result in vomiting, internal bleeding, organ damage, seizures and death. For those who survive, the tests can last for months, after which the animals are killed regardless [8].


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