Fighting for the Yorkshire beagles in the High Court

Cruelty Free International has taken legal action against the Home Office and its plans to expand a horrific Yorkshire beagle farm for animal experiments.


Tens of thousands of dogs are imprisoned in laboratories around the world, and injected with or force-fed substances. They can suffer horrific effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, organ damage, seizures, paralysis and even death.

These poor animals are often supplied by purpose-built breeding facilities, which churn out litter after litter of puppies. They are then separated from their mothers and sent off to be experimented on. Their mothers, meanwhile, are generally kept as ‘breeding machines’ until they no longer ‘serve a purpose’ and are killed.


The story so far:
In 2011 animal breeding and rearing company, Bantin & Kingman Ltd (B&K), applied for planning permission to expand its Yorkshire beagle farm. This was so that it could breed thousands of dogs for experiments. But, following intensive campaigning, the application was rejected. The rejection was on the grounds that B&K had not provided enough information on how it would manage the noise from the dogs, which could be a ‘nuisance’ for local residents.

In 2013 B&K made a fresh application which addressed some of the planning concerns that had been raised previously. But part of its proposal to manage noise was to ensure dogs were not given any access to outdoor runs. However, EU law requires dog breeding establishments to provide dogs with outside access wherever possible. So it was no longer just a planning issue; there were legal implications too. B&K therefore needed permission from the UK Home Office not to have outside runs.

Astonishingly, B&K later claimed that denying dogs outdoor runs was to protect their health and ensure they were suitable for experiments. (They said this even though in the past dogs at the site did have outdoor runs, with no problems).

In mid-2015, Cruelty Free International was shocked to discover that the Home Office had granted B&K permission to keep dogs indoors at all times. This was on the basis that outdoor runs could compromise their health by exposing them to infections carried by wildlife. This could in turn, it was claimed, invalidate the results of laboratory tests.

The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, who was overseeing the planning appeal, was then satisfied that there would not be a noise issue for locals (with dogs being kept indoors). So he approved B&K’s planning application to expand.

This means that denying dogs access to outdoor runs for ‘health reasons’ conveniently removed the noise nuisance problem that had so far prevented B&K’s application from progressing.

A violation of EU law
Cruelty Free International believe that had the Home Office not authorised B&K to keep dogs indoors at all times, the application would probably have been rejected by the Secretary of State. This would mean B&K would not be allowed to expand and breed thousands of dogs for use in experiments.

The decision is an outrage and strongly suggests the Home Office wanted to support B&K’s planning appeal. It has failed to carry out ‘due diligence’ in order to make a reasoned judgement. For example, it has not cited any evidence regarding infections to support its claims.

So not only is it cruel to deny dogs access to fresh air, but CFI believe the decision is a violation of EU law.

Taking the Home Office to court
Cruelty Free International has launched legal proceedings against the Home Office decision. They have now been given the green light by a judge to take their case to a full hearing in court.

This is our last chance to fight for the Yorkshire beagles and CFI are urgently asking for our support.

Please donate today and your gift could help fund the legal costs of challenging the Home Office in the High Court of Justice.

Cruelty Free International has been campaigning for almost five years to stop the expansion of a beagle farm in Yorkshire, England. To donate today and help the fight to protect the Yorkshire beagles in the High Court of Justice, click here.

Article taken from: https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/fighting-yorkshire-beagles-high-court


Owners urged to get dogs microchipped

Dog owners in Scotland are being urged to get their animals microchipped in the new year.

A microchipped dog can be scanned to find out all its details

A new law comes into force in April which makes is compulsory for all dogs to be tagged.

It is hoped this will help to trace lost or stolen dogs and hold irresponsible owners to account.

Microchipping dogs is a quick procedure which involves putting a tiny device between the animal’s shoulders.

It can then be easily scanned to show up basic information about the dog, such as who its owner is.

Microchipping will be offered for free at many vets across the country and some animal charities such as the Dogs Trust rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder.

About two-thirds of dogs in Scotland have already been microchipped voluntarily.

Owners who do not comply by April could face a fine of up to £500.
A public consultation in 2014 showed that more than 83% of those who took part favoured making microchipping compulsory.

The new law is set to be introduced in England and Wales at the same time.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35186937


UK floods: getting the animals out

Hundreds of animals are thought to have drowned in the floods before Christmas in Cumbria.

Dog being rescued from floods

With many other parts of northern England now being affected we speak to the team whose job it is to save pets and livestock from rising waters.
Jason Finch coordinates the RSPCA‘s Water Rescue Unit.

He has currently deployed 15 technicians out to areas around Preston, Leeds and York.

Kitted out with specialist equipment Jason says they are trained to deal with animals in situations like this. We use wading boats with guys in dry suits. They can take the boat in the water and also wade through to get to properties. They carry lots of animal rescue kit, crates and things to put the animals in.”


The jobs vary from simply getting people’s pets out of houses to rescuing flocks of sheep in flooded fields.

“Sheep are particularly susceptible to fatalities in flooding situations,” Jason explains. Their fleeces get soaked in water and so heavy that they can’t swim.”

Earlier this month a video went viral of a sheepdog in Cumbria rescuing its flock from rising flood waters.

No job is too small for the RSPCA though. In these latest floods in Yorkshire they even saved a mole from drowning.

“It was doing its best to swim against the current, down a flooded street,” Jason says. “They managed to scoop it up and take it to higher ground.”

But some animals don’t make it. In the recent Cumbria floods a horse drowned despite the team’s best efforts to save it.

Jason says it illustrates how dangerous these situations are: “If an animal the size of a horse can get swept away. You should be very careful.”

Local fire services and mountain rescue teams have also been helping to make animals safe.

It’s not just animals though, the RSPCA team are often called on to rescue people too.

“What we tend to find is people don’t want to leave their houses without their animals so they try to stay behind then all of a sudden it gets too dangerous to stay. We have removed a lot of people with pets in their houses. One guy in particular who had a heart attack was rescued by the RSPCA and one couple stranded in a school with their dog in about ten feet of flood water.”

For those people worried about their pets in similar situations, the advice from the RSPCA is to be prepared.

Jason advises owners to “make sure you’ve got lots of pet food in. Make sure you’ve got pet carriers. Think about what you’re going to do with your animals if your house does get flooded. If you have to leave your house the ideal scenario is that you take your pets with you. If that’s not possible confine them in an upstairs room with plenty of food and water to last at least three to four days.”

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35186429/uk-floods-getting-the-animals-out


Sting of the Day: Six arrested over suspected hare coursing in Wiltshire

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of hare coursing offences in Wiltshire.

Greyhound chasing a hare

Police said they were called by farmers in the Devizes, Avebury and Winterbourne areas after two suspects were seen with Lurcher-type dogs.

Officers also stopped and seized a vehicle believed to be “involved in hare coursing a short time earlier”.

The men have been arrested on suspicion of daytime trespass in search/pursuit of game and are due to appear in court at a later date.

They have also been ordered not to return to Wiltshire before their court appearance, police said.

Since 2005, hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-35181884


Fox hunting: Parliament has ‘better things to do’ than repeal Act

Parliament has “better things to be concerned with” than the government’s pledge to hold a vote on repealing the Hunting Act, the sports minister says.

fox stretching

Tracey Crouch said fox hunting was a “pursuit from the past” and should be “consigned to history”.

The act, passed by the Blair government in 2004, says foxes cannot be killed by dogs in hunts in England and Wales.

A survey for the Countryside Alliance has suggested about 250,000 people will go to a hunt on Boxing Day.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the pro-hunting alliance, said the act was never about hunting, foxes or wildlife management, rather it was a “great political totem”.

The Conservative Party’s 2015 general election manifesto promised to “give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time”.

An attempt to relax the law was abandoned earlier this year after the SNP signalled they would vote against it, rather than abstain as they traditionally do on matters that do not affect Scotland.

The government has since calculated it would be unlikely to win.
The changes would have brought the Hunting Act in line with Scotland, where an unlimited number of dogs can be used to “flush out” a fox to be shot, compared to just two in England and Wales.

Ms Crouch, a patron of the Conservatives Against Fox Hunting group, known as Blue Fox, said: “Fox hunting is a pursuit from the past and like the overwhelming majority of the population I believe that is where it should stay, consigned to history.

“I believe that the legislation as it stands today requires better enforcement, and Parliament has better things to be concerned with than bringing back hunting foxes with hounds.”

The law governing hunting with dogs

In England and Wales, you cannot use dogs to hunt foxes, hares or deer.

You can use dogs for:

  • stalking and flushing out – but only to control pests, such as hares, and only if they’re shot as soon as possible afterwards. Only one or two dogs can be used to “flush out” a fox
  • hunting rats and rabbits
  • retrieving hares that have been shot
  • drag hunting and trail hunting

In Scotland, hunts can use an unlimited number of dogs to flush out foxes.

A League Against Cruel Sports survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found 83% of 2,036 respondents thought the ban should remain in place – 84% in rural areas and 82% in urban areas.

Director of campaigns Tom Quinn said opposition to legalising fox hunting with dogs was “higher than it has ever been”.

“We believe this reflects that as a nation the vast majority of us are repulsed at the thought of killing animals for sport,” he said.

But Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, said the Hunting Act was “in tatters”.

“After 11 years of the act, support for hunts is as strong as ever and the Hunting Act is mostly being used to prosecute poaching offences,” he said.

The amendments put forward in July would have allowed practical management of fox populations, especially in the Uplands where foxes were a significant problem for sheep farmers, he told BBC radio 4’s Today programme.

Ian Blackford, the SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said his party did not believe there was broad popular support for fox hunting so he and his fellow MPs had planned to exercise their vote in that way.

Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s shadow secretary for environment, food and rural affairs, urged the prime minister not to “sneak” hunting back onto the parliamentary agenda when it was “absolutely clear” the public did not want to see it return.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35179185


Rare seahorses born at Tynemouth Blue Reef Aquarium

Dozens of rare seahorses have been born in captivity in Tyneside.

Spotted seahorses

The baby spotted seahorses, which measure less than a centimetre in length, have started life at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.

Usually found throughout south east Asia, Australia, Japan and Hawaii, the new arrivals are part of an ongoing captive breeding programme.

A spokesman for the aquarium said their birth was “very important” in easing the pressures on wild populations.

The seahorses, which are listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, will eventually grow up to 20cm (8ins) in height.

In the wild, the majority of species of seahorse are now under threat.
Displays supervisor Terry McKeone said: “The babies are doing extremely well and it’s more than likely there will be more born over the coming days.

“Although tiny, the newborns are exact miniature replicas of their parents and are already learning and mimicking the adults’ behaviour.”

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-35174073


Gamekeepers angered by John Muir Trust deer cull

A row has erupted between gamekeepers and one of Scotland’s leading landowning charities over the treatment of deer on a remote Highland estate.

The SGA is calling on the Scottish Government to investigate claims that the John Muir Trust left the bodies of dozens of stags to rot on a Knoydart hillside. Picture: Hemedia

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is calling on the Scottish Government to investigate claims that the John Muir Trust left the bodies of dozens of stags to rot on a Knoydart hillside.

According to the SGA, the animals were left to decompose on the moor, some with their haunches and heads removed. The SGA has questioned the deer culling techniques of the Trust on their land at Li and Coire Dhorcail.

The SGA claimed the normal practice of engaging with neighbours in the local deer group about intentions for the cull was not observed by John Muir Trust which, instead, informed Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Despite only 14 stags being observed during indicative cull counts by SNH on Li and Coire Dhorcail, the conservation body shot 86 stags, most of which were left on the open hill. The SGA said neighbours in the deer management group have claimed the practice has cost the local area £100 000 in wasted venison and income from visiting stalkers.

A SGA spokesman said: “Sometimes a stalker has to leave a deer, if its condition makes it unfit for consumption. A professional decision may be taken to leave it to feed a bird of prey and it may be placed out of view of those accessing the countryside. However, not at this number. What is considered ethical and decent has been over-stepped.”

Mike Daniels, the John Muir Trust’s head of land management, said: “Many thousands of deer die on our hillsides each winter – including hundreds in the Knoydart area – because deer populations are too high and they are desperately seeking food and shelter. These deaths are a direct consequence of management practices that aim for high deer numbers for sport shooting regardless of animal welfare or ecology.

“The number of deer we had to cull between July and October – just over 1 per cent of the total population on Knoydart – was higher than usual because we can no longer rely on close season authorisations, which would allow us to cull deer in the winter when they come down from the higher slopes.”

Article taken from: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/gamekeepers-angered-by-john-muir-trust-deer-cull-1-3982843#ixzz3vFCqx3ny