‘Animals shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st century’
Protest held against the use of animals for medical research
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By Natalie Bloomer
Around 50 activists gathered outside the Thrapston site of Impex, an animal courier business, yesterday morning to protest against the transportation of animals for medical research.
Impex transports primates, dogs, guinea pigs and other animals to laboratories around the UK and internationally for research and pharmaceutical industries.
During the demonstration, activists climbed on a roof and two chained themselves together in front of the gates to the site.
The Free MBR Beagles group was first set up to campaign against Marshall Bio Resources (MBR), who provide purpose-bred animals for medical research. The activists say up to 2,000 beagles are kept at the MBR site before being shipped to laboratories at 16 weeks old.
A series of protests outside their site in Huntingdon gained high profile support from the likes of actor and writer Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan. More than 100,000 have signed a petition calling for a change to the law to include laboratory animals in the Animal Welfare Act.
Images taken by campaigners are said to show beagle puppies being moved onto vans in crates at the MBR site.
Mel from Free The MBR Beagles says Impex in Thrapston is a key part in the process.
“It’s important to remember these animals suffer greatly. The dogs being taken to labs in Impex vans are no different to the dogs we have at home - people wouldn’t let this happen to their pet dogs.
“You wouldn’t know anything about this company from passing this site or seeing their vans, you’d never know what’s going on here.”
Every year thousands of dogs are used in medical research procedures in the UK, the majority of these are beagles. It’s thought the breed is used because of their docile temperament and size.
“Animals shouldn’t be subjected to this in the 21st century. There are other ways to do this research,” one protester told NN Journal.
“These animals are basically being sent off to be poisoned.”
On the Impex website below pictures of a monkey, mice, vans and crates. It says :
“Whether transporting large or small consignments, we ensure your shipment is safe, secure and stress-free. Working with our associates on all continents, we provide a fully validated global courier service for the research and pharmaceutical industries…Our range of large and small vehicles are designed and equipped to a high specification to maintain optimum travelling conditions appropriate to each species.”
The campaigners say they’ve received good support from passersby, many of which weren’t aware that the company was based in Thrapston or what they do.
Roger and Laura, who live in the town, said what the company does is “terrible”.
“We didn’t know about this, we have a dog and this is just terrible. We’re not impressed, we don’t agree with it at all.”
In a statement released by MBR in November they said:
“Our business will continue to manage and run its operations in full compliance with Home Office regulations and with our normal high welfare standards. However, it is difficult to ignore where there is a peaceful protest, a policing presence would not be needed, including a safe, clean environment that all local authorities are required to manage.
“We remain proud of what we do every day because our work allows the progress of medicine to save millions of human and animal lives.”
Impex has been contacted for a comment.
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