Over 40,000 sign Grimston dog breeding centre petition

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A 40,000 signature petition against plans to expand a centre for breeding dogs for scientific testing has been submitted to an East Yorkshire council.

B&K Universal wants to build a facility near Aldbrough to house the rearing of beagles and replace the need to ship dogs from Europe.

Protestors have said it would affect the area's reputation and tourism.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council said it would consider the petition as "part of the normal planning process".

B&K Universal general manager Roy Sutcliffe said a planning inspectorate report had found it was "difficult to quantify" the potential impact on tourism.

The company wants to expand its existing site in Grimston, south of Aldbrough.

The petition, which received 40,651 signatures, was started by local campaigners and received support from national groups, including the Anti Vivisection Coalition (AVC).

It stated that the development would cause "short and long-term disruption" to the area and said "adverse publicity" surrounding it would impact on tourism.

It also claimed the facility would put extra pressure on Humberside Police.

'Very pleased'

Campaigner Deborah Minns, who helped start the petition, said "the level of support shown means we need this [debate] out in the open and it means it's about time something needed to change".

She added that that number of signatures showed that "a lot of people are asking a lot of questions".

The AVC's Luke Steele said the group was "very pleased with the response and very pleased to be working with the local campaign".

"It shows that the public feel that this project is not in the national interest, because the science proves that animal testing is not reliable for medicines and the use of beagle dogs is cruel," he said.

In its planning application, B&K Universal stated the development would replace the need for frequent shipments of animals bred overseas and said the proposal would offer a "significant animal welfare gain".

Mr Sutcliffe said that reduction in importation would mean less traffic to and from the site.

He added the existing site had only been the subject of one protest in the past four years and that animal testing was a "small but vital part" of the research of new treatments.

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