Police seal off roads to hold back protestors at Camp Beagle
- Credit: Terry Harris
Road blocks sealed off a Cambridgeshire road today for 'safety reasons' - it stopped residents and journalists watching as scores of police allowed beagles to leave a research laboratory.
The one-mile exclusion zone was thrown around the MBR Acres site at Wyton where Camp Beagle has been set up by campaigners fighting to end use of animals in experimental science.
Our photographer was refused access along the closed off B1090 – eventually being told he could leave his car and walk some distance to the MBR site.
“The road is closed so no vehicles should be allowed along it, for safety reasons, not even residents,” said a police spokesperson.
“If that has not been the case initially, it will be now.”
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And the spokesperson added our photographer “is more than welcome to walk to the site”.
A live stream by the Camp Beagle protestors shows dozens of police officers arriving and then holding back the small group there today.
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Once two vans carrying beagles had left the facility, the police officers returned to their vans parked nearby.
Long term protestor Mel said: “We saw a number of police vans roll up – the first we knew about it was when a police liaison told us.
“I counted van after van – at least eight of them and carrying a large number of police officers.”
He said: “I’ve never seen anything like it –it beggars the question how is so many police officers can be essentially for what is essentially 40 to 50 beagles being transported.
“And don’t forget the vast majority of the public opposes this use of beagles.”
He said: “It's an outrage to see vast amounts of taxpayers money and police resources dealing with something that shouldn’t be happening.”
Mel added: “The tests on these beagles are unnecessary and yet here we are in the Cambridgeshire countryside facilitating a trade with no legitimacy.”
Police have regularly attended to enable workers access to the site and to ensure traffic flow in the area is maintained.
The company is owned by Marshall BioResources.
MBR says they are “a specialist breeder of animals that are raised to be healthy, content and comfortable in a lab environment”.
It says it does not undertake regulatory toxicology or other experiments and has only animal care staff working on its sites.
The company insists 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”.