Mums call for ban on ‘factory farms’ breeding beagles for experiments in the UK

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Dog owners Penny Weston and Sophie Attwood have launched the Hounded campaign and petition to ban dogs being used in experiments, which has reached 9,900 signatures

Two animal-loving mums have launched a campaign to ban the breeding of beagle puppies for experiments in the UK.

Friends Penny Weston, 35, and Sophie Attwood, 30, from Staffordshire, were horrified when they discovered that each year thousands of dogs are bred into ‘factory farms’ for ‘painful toxicity’ experiments conducted in labs in the UK.

The dog-loving duo decided to take action and launched their Hounded campaign to raise awareness of the practice, and help bring an end to dogs being used in testing.

Penny, who owns health spa Moddershall Oaks, said: “It is shocking and completely inhumane that in this day and age dogs are being bred in factory farms simply to test products such as weed killer and air fresheners.”

According to the Hounded campaign, the dogs are used to test a range of products and many dogs don’t survive the testing, which can involve being fed the substances daily for months.

Penny added: “It breaks my heart to think that most dogs don’t survive the testing and those that do are killed at the end of the experiments as they are deemed too damaged to be rehomed.

“We are a nation of dog lovers and I believe that we can force our government to take notice, enforce a ban, and be a compassionate example to the rest of the world. We will not stand by and do nothing while puppies are bred in cold, dark conditions and sent to laboratories at just 16 weeks old. We won’t stop until this cruel, outdated and inaccurate practice is banned.”

That figure has since risen to 9,900 – but the petition needs 10,000 signatures for the government to respond, and 100,000 to be considered in parliament.

While there have been a number of petitions previously surrounding reviews of animal testing and the treatment of the animals, Hounded is campaigning specifically to stop experiments on dogs.

The petition has even received support from celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Simon Pegg, Katherine Ryan, as well as TV star Jorgie Porter and Calum Best.

Speaking about animal testing on ‘Black, White & Vivisection’ with Dr Ray Greek, comedian Ricky Gervais said: “If these experiments are pointless. If they are torturing animals for no reason. And they don’t help. And someone is holding this information back… As a money making scheme. And putting out propaganda. And fooling everyone. And giving out false hope that torturing this beagle might save your grandmother. Who is in charge?”

Jorgie Porter, who starred in Hollyoaks, said: “Everyone get behind this and sign the petition. Beagles don’t need to be tested on.”

Blue’s Duncan James added: “I’ve signed. I had no idea this was going on. It is so sad. This has to change.”

PR Consultancy owner and co-founder of Hounded, Sophie Attwood said: “These dogs are made to suffer with no pain relief or anaesthetic. It’s like a machine-like conveyor belt and we’re simply delivering what is supposed to be man’s best friend into a terrifying, sickening environment where the dogs then endure experiments that involve being force-fed chemicals for up to 90 days.

“There is now absolutely enough evidence to show that there are more accurate alternative ways. It is our opinion that testing on dogs is totally unacceptable.”

On Tuesday pop star Will Young chained himself to gates of controversial puppy breeding plant in Cambridgeshire in protest against the practice.

The 42-year-old singer, who first shot to fame on Pop Idol, padlocked himself to the gates of the MBR Acres research site at Wyton, Huntingdon, Cambs, in a bid to hit out against cruel animal testing.

He spent an hour and a half at the protest, but freed himself after a discussion with four police officers.