ANIMAL rights activists are to target Manchester Airport in their campaign against a company they say breeds animals for medical research abroad.

The Northern Animal Rights Network plans to demonstrate outside the cargo terminal.

They claim flights carrying beagles and rodents bred by Yorkshire-based B&K Universal are shipped via the airport to America for vivisection.

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Animal protesters target airport

Activists to step up campaign against laboratory specimen firm
Alexandra Wood

ANIMAL rights activists will be demonstrating outside Leeds Bradford Airport as they step up their campaign to stop an East Yorkshire firm breeding animals for use in medical research.

The Northern Animal Rights Network (NARN) says it will begin a series of protests, with the demonstration on Saturday January 13, aimed at cutting off the foreign market for research animals from B&K Universal.

But the airport insisted yesterday that it had no involvement with transporting live animals for vivisection.

And the company, B&K Universal, which is based at Grimston, near Aldbrough, accused campaigners of "endeavouring to force their extreme minority views on others through intimidation and criminal acts."
In its product guide the firm, which breeds beagles and rodents, offers "a comprehensive import/export service" including organising flight arrangements and a delivery service to and from unspecified airports.

NARN spokesman Luke Steele said: "We have been told that B&K use whichever airport is most feasible.

"We know they are being taken to Sweden. There are also rodents that are taken all over the world. We have evidence of them being taken as far away as Australia."

He said they were going to carry on campaigning until airport bosses agreed to sign up to a policy that they would not transport live animals for vivisection.

"If they don't have one they can at a later date turn round and say they are going to transport animals."

He added: "We are just basically going to be holding placards chanting and letting everyone know what's happening in terms of exports/imports. We believe if we can cut off 30 per cent of their trade B&K will have to close down."

But Cath Mason, finance and commercial director at Leeds Bradford Airport, denied it was involved.
She said: "Leeds Bradford International Airport and its cargo operator Penauille Servisair Cargo confirm that they have no involvement in transportation of live animals for vivisection from or to Leeds Bradford International Airport".

The campaigners say animal experimentation is "unethical and unscientific", and beagle bitches based at the company's premises at Grimston, are "nothing more than breeding machines".

Mr Steele claimed puppies supplied by the firm to Huntingdon Life Sciences were gassed to death while testing HCFC gases, which have been banned in many countries.

He added: "Results from vivisection cannot be relied upon due to the large anatomical and physiological differences between species."

But B&K insists animals have a crucial role to play in medicine and that public opinion supports their work.

A statement went on: "Those who protest regularly against our company would have you believe they are acting peacefully. In fact, they are endeavouring to force their extreme minority views on others through intimidation and criminal acts. They do not represent mainstream opinion. We are reassured that the Government supports our industry and is committed to removing this blight from our society.

"We do not expect that the actions of NARN will have any major impact on our business in 2007. The main participants in the NARN campaign are currently on court bail pending criminal trials, and indeed already have criminal convictions."

The Research Defence Society, which represents scientists involved in animal testing, has previously dismissed NARN's claims saying it is vital to research.

03 January 2007


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