Updated: Sunday, 26th March 2017 @ 7:40am

Battle against breeding beagles for animal laboratory testing takes to Manchester streets in candlelit vigil

Battle against breeding beagles for animal laboratory testing takes to Manchester streets in candlelit vigil

By Matt Simpson

The fight against illegal breeding of beagles to fuel laboratory testing will arrive in Manchester tomorrow, as animal rights campaigners join together to highlight the horrific cruelty.

A candlelit vigil will be simultaneously held from 4-6pm in twelve European cities on, and Mancunians are invited to attend their own in Albert Square.

The UK-based vigils were organised by the Save the Harlan Beagles campaign and Manchester-based founding member, Alex Irving, wants a good show of support for this little-known issue.

“It is largely unknown that dogs are bred in factories for sale to laboratories,” she said.

“We’re hoping between 50 and 100 people will attend the vigil. It will be a very peaceful moment, a moment of solemnity and reverence.

“It is good way of remembering those animals who have already suffered cruelty, while also attracting more support for those which still need our help.”

In 2011, a Sunday Times exposé revealed details of a beagle-breeding farm owned and run by American company Harlan and the campaign against them has grown ever since.

The maltreated dogs were being bred and then sold to laboratories for vivisections or drug-testing, only to be euthanized if they survived the tests.

And Mrs Irving, 56, explained these vigils are intended to raise public awareness of this practice so people question why it happens and become informed about whether it should happen.

Another founding member Lisa Symonds, who is hosting the vigil in Liverpool, was amazed with the support shown so far and is hoping the group can progress even further.

"It’s really been quite overwhelming,” she said. “We originally had a couple of cities taking part.

“But because of our growing support we’ve had people come forward and say they would really like to hold their own vigil.”

The group are running a petition online – with more than 35,000 signatures already – for the facility to be closed or at the very least a public enquiry to be held.

“We’re in talks with the home office at the moment and our aim is to meet Theresa May to deliver our petition when we get 40,000 signatures,” she added.

“We’re making good progress sorting that out.”

And with vigils held across the continent – in France, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia – Miss Symonds revealed their next step was to raise awareness across the pond.

For more information on the campaign, vigils and to sign the petition, please visit: http://savetheharlanbeagles.com

Picture courtesy of understandinganimalresearch, with thanks

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