Video shows scale of police operation at Camp Beagle to protect vans
- Credit: Camp Beagle
A former county councillor described using scores of police officers to accompany two vans picking up beagles from a Cambridgeshire laboratory as “absolutely disgraceful”.
Video of the vans heading towards the Cambridgeshire facility – produced by a protest group – shows clearly the scale of the operation.
As can be seen on the video, police vans were in front and behind the vans as they headed into the MBR Acres site at Wyton.
Geoffrey Woollard, a one-time councillor for Burwell and Bottisham, said: “Rural crime is rampant in Cambridgeshire.
“Yet when the police have been called, farmers and others have been told ‘we are a bit short of resources’.
“They are not so short of resources that they can’t send van loads of police officers to escort van loads of little beagles from MBR Acres – eventually to be killed during or after ‘research’.”
Mr Woollard, who came out OF retirement in 2018 at the age of 80 to unsuccessfully fight a by election in Soham, said: “This is absolutely disgraceful.”
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He said he was calling on Mr Darryl Preston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, “to instruct Cambridgeshire Police to save the little beagles, to investigate MBR Acres and to have their premises closed down”.
He added: “Many thousands of people voted for Mr Preston. Their votes must persuade him to do the right thing.”
Organisers of Camp Beagle – the protest group set up outside MBR Acres at Wyton on the B1090 – claim up to 100 police officers and 30 police vehicles were involved in Tuesday’s operation.
“And simply to allow MBR to dispatch two vans of puppies to their deaths in testing laboratories,” said a Camp Beagle spokesperson.
“What other legitimate business would be able to call on the might of the state in this way simply to get past a small number of protestors outside their razor wire topped fences?
“No other industry can summon a private army to help them carry out their trade, you don't see 100 police officers escorting a supermarket lorry past roadworks, or 30 blue light equipped vans hurrying an amazon lorry to its destination.”
The spokesperson added: “Animal testing is protected by the state. In order to end this, change must come from the top. We demand that our government and MPs listen to the people and make animal testing.
“The mass of police vehicles shielded the vans as they loaded a shipment of dogs, and escorted them away from the site.
“The cries of the doomed puppies as they were driven to their deaths in toxicology laboratories was clearly audible from the road as the vans sped away from the scene.”
MBR Acres has always insisted that “expert opinion on why animals are needed in research should be sought from the medicines regulator and scientists or organisations working in this field.
"These experiments form a small but crucial part of a wide range of applications from ecology work to investigations into human and animal diseases”.
And they maintain these include those “that led directly to the vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, cancer drugs, pet medicines and products labelled as safe for pets”.
Police defended their decision to close the B1090 on Tuesday.
“The road is closed so no vehicles should be allowed along it, for safety reasons, not even residents,” said a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police.
Terry Harris, a photographer – on assignment to this newspaper – has put in an official complaint to his professional body after being refused permission to access the site.
He was instructed to leave his car and walk.
“I was actively stopped four times on route to the protest,” he said.
“It was a deliberate attempt to delay me arriving at the scene and on the fourth request to see my press card I suggested the officer keep it and I’ll collect it on my return.
“I’m confident all the radios were linked so each check point knew I was there.”
He is making a statement to his professional body “in relation to Cambs police dealing with the press”.