It’s a scientific debate long overdue in the eyes of comedian Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan, and now they are getting some help in the form of a rescued ex-laboratory dog, Scarlett.

Scarlett endured two years of experiments before being free by the Rescue and Freedom Project and she is now Beagle Ambassador for the science-based campaign For Life On Earth (FLOE).

Scarlett is helping Ricky and Peter promote their Open Letter calling for a rigorous public scientific debate about claims that experiments on dogs, and other animals, can predict the responses of human patients; this debate will be judged by a panel of independent experts from the relevant fields of science.

The Open Letter is addressed to animal testing advocate Prof. Colin Blakemore, who supported the Government’s decision to expand the number of Beagles bred at lab animal breeders B&K Universal. 

Ricky Gervais with Scarlett Beagle

In the Open Letter, it says that dogs bred in these environments are “destined for painful and traumatic laboratory experiments – typically involving dogs being force-fed chemicals in experiments lasting ninety days with no pain relief or anaesthetic. According to current medical knowledge the results of such experiments are not capable of predicting the responses of human patients, a position highlighted by The British Medical Journal in its Editor’s Choice, June 2014.”

Ricky Gervais says, “Meeting Scarlett and sensing her painful past will stay with me forever. Like all dogs she is incredibly gentle with a heart of gold, but the horrors of two years in a toxicology laboratory are etched in her eyes and body language. This was clear, even in the relatively short time I spent with her. I’m delighted to have signed an Open Letter calling for animal experimenter Prof. Colin Blakemore to face the world’s leading medical opposition to such experiments, in a public science hearing judged by independent experts. I want people to be able to understand how these shocking experiments are now proven to also fail humans.”

Peter Egan comments, “Scarlett is the first dog I’ve met who has been saved from an animal testing laboratory. She’s a beautiful and extraordinary dog. One of the reasons Beagles are chosen to be bred for use as animal testing dogs is because of how docile they are and what I found very sad about meeting Scarlett was that she was quite rightly deeply suspicious about who we all were and distanced from everyone on the day that we filmed with her. It was almost as if she was just putting up with us because she’s so wounded from her past.

“Our Open Letter to Colin Blakemore asks him to take part in a fair public scientific debate, at the request of many scientists who no longer support the funding of animal experiments for human patients. These experts present evidence that animal testing is misleading and outdated, taking finance away from modern, relevant human-based research”.

Scientists from the animal experimentation community have signed a ‘Concordat On Openness on Animal Research’ which proclaims to develop communications with the media and public; but, to date, no animal-based researcher has agreed to the debate.

Over a hundred MPs have signed Parliamentary Early Day Motions to hear the scientific debate and the Open Letter is also signed by Chris Packham, Paul O’Grady and Dr. Jane Goodall. Members of the public can ask their MP to sign Parliamentary EDM 66 calling for the science debate here.

Photos by K9 Magazine

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