The Dark Side of Research – Camp Beagle

The Dark Side of Research – Camp Beagle

I’m a huge fan of an awesome YouTuber named DJ Audits. He has a thriving channel and he has built his brand by recording people with authority and their interactions with the public. He often says he films “anything he finds interesting” whether that be businesses in an industrial estate, or a recycling plant. On the odd occasion, he has attended protests and recorded the interaction between the protestors and people with authority, namely security staff and police officers. Recently he attended a protest for this purpose in Cambridgeshire and recorded a series of videos. I must say that these videos have stayed with me ever since I watched them. I decided to try and do my bit to assist the activist at Camp Beagle by way of highlighting the issues they raise.

What is Camp Beagle?

Camp Beagle is in essence a protest camp that is relatively young. It was established in July 2021 outside of MBR (Marshall BioResources) which is an animal breeding facility. Inside this unassuming facility, located in the middle of nowhere, around 2,000 beagles are bred every year. These poor animals are then sold to research facilities for the purpose of drug and chemical testing when they are around 20 weeks of age.

What started out as a demonstration outside MBR has now turned into a truly inspirational movement. Following a protest outside MBR, 2 truly remarkable people, Polly and Beth decide to remain at the facility and make a more permanent protest. Other protestors have since joined Polly and Beth and taken to camping outside the facility. They are ‘Camp Beagle’.

They track the movements of the staff as they enter and leave the facility. Protestors can now tell which transport vehicles are used for taking the puppies to their ultimate fatal final destination. The protestors are not precious about the movement. They invite all who wish to to join them and have their voices heard.

Camp Beagle has attracted celebrity attention and has had the support of singer Will Young who chained himself to the gates of MBR in protest. Comedian and actor Alan Davies generously donated a motor home to the movement.

What Exactly is Camp Beagle Protesting About?

So now we have established what Camp Beagle is, I’m going to describe what exactly they are protesting about. I must say, this next section is not for the faint of heart. However, if more of us made ourselves feel uncomfortable in order to understand what goes on at these facilities, then maybe we can get this practice stopped.

As Camp Beagle highlight, if you head over to the MBR website (I’m not going to link them as I don’t want to contribute to their business in any way), they state they have been “supplying quality animals for biomedical research for over 75 years”. Camp Beagle rightly note this sentence pitches their animals as a commodity, a product, a thing to be mass-produced and then sold rather than sentient beings.

The facility claims to provide enrichment and socialising activities for the animals as well as veterinary treatment. If you watch DJ Audits’ drone flight of the facility, he highlights these supposed enrichment facilities. A member of Camp Beagle narrates and explains that the animals are never seen in the outdoor play areas. They have toys such as a slide and a toy car – the protestor asks ‘how is a puppy going to play with that?’ It appears that some things are there simply to pass animal welfare inspections.

The protestors explain that the animals are fed using shoots and are given no human contact or interaction. The only time they see the light of day is when they are shipped off for experiments and testing. Indeed recent drone footage of the facility shows the heartbreaking image of puppies being pushed in a cart, tragically unaware of the fate that is before them, they are wagging their tails in excitement. All while one employee carries what appears to be a deceased puppy under his arm.

According to the MBR website, Beagles are ‘ideal’ for medical and chemical testing because of the very reason they make excellent pets – they have a calm and gentle temperament thus ‘making them the best canine model for developing new veterinary medicines and vaccines marketed for pets.’ How unfortunate that these Beagles are used to develop veterinary medicines.

The protestors at Camp Beagle explain that after suffering cramped, dirty and inhumane conditions at the breeding facility, they are then treated with ever more contempt at research facilities, such as Labcorp. You can watch DJ Audits’ visit to this facility here as he records the protest. The Camp Beagle protestors explain puppies’ vocal cords are sometimes cut so they can’t make a sound when in pain. They are tested upon, cut, and tortured. They are then euthanised at around 6 months old once their usefulness has run its course. What a horrible, pitiful existence.

What makes all this even more shocking is that there is a viable alternative to all this which many research facilities are now opting for. Thanks to scientific advancements, such testing can be done without the use of animals. However, this is often a less economical method and so animals, such as Beagles are a much cheaper option for huge corporations.

What is the Objective?

In the words of Camp Beagle themselves:

Camp Beagle defines itself as a strictly lawful protest group. Our primary objectives are to free the beagle dogs bred at MBR Acres Ltd and to ban animal testing in the UK.

Our strategy consists of a public awareness campaign, lawful pressure tactics, industry exposure and to challenge the current law with scientific and ethical arguments and process.

Facebook – @campbeagleofficial

The objective of the protestors at Camp Beagle is pretty simple. To stop the torture and murder of these innocent animals. The way to do this is to prevent the demand for Beagles. Breeding facilities will then have no need to supply these animals. Currently, these breeding and research activities are legal. Camp Beagle wants to change the law to outlaw this horrific practice. If experimenting on animals is made unlawful, then the breeding facilities will close.

How Can I Help Camp Beagle?

The simplest way you can assist Camp Beagle is by signing this petition to ban commercial breeding for laboratories. At the time of writing, the petition has 49,005 signatures. 100,000 signatures are needed to be considered for debate in parliament. You can help by asking others to sign the petition. Social media platforms are a great way of doing this.

You could also follow Camp Beagle’s social media channels:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCampBeagle

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecampbeagle/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campbeagleofficial

You could ask your MP to sign Parliamentary EDM 175 in order to mandate a fair, public scientific hearing on animal experiments. I have – this is quick and easy. There is already a template online, you just have to fill in your details. It even finds your MP once you enter your postcode!

If you want to join the protest, the address is: Camp Beagle, Sawtry Way PE28 2DT.

Camp Beagle also organise events throughout the year to highlight this issue. Please see their website here for details.

Many thanks for reading! Thanks must also go to DJ Audits for highlighting this issue. And, of course, a huge thank you to the members of Camp Beagle for bringing this to the public’s attention.

HoghedgeCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For other posts, see my Home Life Category.

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