Pop star Will Young has called on a UK research facility to allow laboratory dogs to be rehomed when they are no longer needed.

Actress Dame Joanna Lumley, presenter Graham Norton and businesswoman Deborah Meaden are among the other celebrities who have put their names to the open letter from Beagle Freedom Project UK.

The campaign group is urging MBR Acres, in Wyton, Cambridgeshire, to allow them to take animals when they are no longer required.

They fear that many are instead put down.

Beagle Freedom Project said it had successfully rehomed more than 3,000 dogs since it was founded in the US in 2010.

Among them was a beagle called Mamma Mia, which was adopted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2022.

Beagle Freedom Project UK said, in its open letter signed by 40 celebrities, that consideration for the dogs’ welfare “must extend beyond their time in your laboratory”.

“After all they have been through in their lives, we believe the dogs deserve some fresh air, a soft spot on a couch and some affection,” the letter said.

“Whether that be for 10 years or a few moments.

“It is better for them to spend their last years, months, or even just days in comfort, being cared for and loved, rather than in a laboratory, alone and unknown.”

Will Young, who is an ambassador for Beagle Freedom Project UK, was involved in a demonstration at MBR Acres in 2021.

He said: “Beagles are the preferred choice for laboratories because of their sweet and gentle nature.

“They are docile and forgiving and do not fight back.

“The sad truth is that the very reason people love them is why they are exploited.”

Robert Cogswell, director of Beagle Freedom Project UK, said: “We hope that with high-profile people agreeing to add their names to an open letter, the companies concerned will allow us to help their animals just as we have been able to do with many animal testing facilities in the US.”

Shannon Keith, founder and president of Beagle Freedom Project in the US, said: “We have had the honour of watching thousands of animals liberated as we open their cage doors for the first time and take their very first steps on grass, sniffing the air, and taking in the world around them, just as life should have always been for them.

“We are determined to see this happen for animals in the UK.”

MBR Acres has been approached for comment.

Original Article: Times Series