In the past two months, the police have arrested a total of fifteen people for demonstrating in front of a facility that breeds dogs for laboratory research.
The animal rights activists protested at MBR Acres in Wyton, Cambridgeshire, setting up “Camp Beagle”. After the firm’s staff claiming that the activists harassed them, the High Court granted them an interim order on 20 August that allowed the police to remove the protesters from the premises. Free The MBR Beagles protesters deny those claims deeming them a lie, saying their only goal is to free the beagles and are willing to stay until the firm shuts down.
An MBR statement said: “We should stress that we have no interest in stifling legitimate protest provided it is conducted lawfully and peacefully, but we absolutely are concerned to stop those protesters who were conducting a vicious and unwarranted harassment and intimidation of our staff and others.
“Those protesters are now barred by the court from their campaign of harassment, trespass and criminal damage directed against our staff, contractors, and visitors.
“We will continue to run our operations in full compliance with Home Office regulations and with our normal high welfare standards.
“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.”
According to Mel Brown from the Free The MBR Beagles:
“It is simply false to suggest that a ‘vicious’ campaign of unwarranted harassment has occurred,” he said.
“The campaign has always been focused on gaining public support to save the beagles and not on causing fear to those employed by MBR.
“We’ve always been clear that those responsible for feeding and watering the dogs, we will allow them in and out, but what we won’t do is let them in and out without letting them know why we are campaigning against this place.
“Increasingly you get support from scientists who are saying the kind of research done on these dogs – toxicity experiments – are not predictive for outcomes in human beings.”
Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said its response had been “impartial and proportionate”.
“We are ensuring a safe environment for protesters to express their views peacefully and staff at the site to do their work, which is protected under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005,” he said.
According to the police, most of the arrested protesters were for suspected obstruction of the highway or of criminal damage.