Ricky Gervais, with beautiful Beagle Betsy.

FLOE's Patron, Peter Egan, with Betsy.

Photos © Joseph Sinclair/FLOE

Chris Packham calls for a rigorous public scientific debate about animal testing, judged by independent experts.

Chris Packham with Scratchy.

BBC naturalist Chris Packham is calling for a rigorous public scientific debate about claims that experiments on dogs – and other animals – can predict the responses of human patients.

The debate’s conditions have been endorsed as “well set out and fair” by Michael Mansfield QC: its outcome will be judged by a panel of independent experts from the relevant fields of science. Their decision can then be submitted to law makers, to advise the revocation of outdated legislation which still authorises animal testing, despite its now recognised medical failure.

Chris has signed an Open Letter to Britain’s main advocate of animal experiments, Prof. Colin Blakemore, asking him to agree to participate in this debate.

Chris says:

“I am delighted to be adding my name to an Open Letter to Prof. Colin Blakemore, and hope very much that he will agree to participate in its vital call for a rigorous public scientific debate.”


“Historically speaking, experiments on animals were first institutionalised in 1847, by a doctor who went on to reject the Theory of Evolution. With today’s scientific expertise, we now understand that even human identical twins do not always predict biological responses for each other – such is our detailed level of knowledge about genetics, and the unique genetic profile of each individual patient. Add this to our present-day understanding of the roles evolutionary biology and complexity science play in medical research, and we have evidence which exposes the fallacy of continuing to claim that experiments on dogs, and other animals, are a viable scientific practice for human patients.

Our letter to Prof. Blakemore represents a vital call for fair and open public scientific debate, so that decision makers can be informed by highly qualified experts – outside those with a vested interest”.

The Open Letter

Dear Prof. Colin Blakemore,

A freedom of information request provided your letter to the Planning Inspectorate, recommending the extension of a Beagle Breeding Farm at B&K Universal in Grimston Hull. The farm will purpose breed around 2,000 dogs annually, 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. Over a hundred MPs, to date, have signed Parliamentary EDMs to hear this evidence in a public scientific debate, overseen by independent judges from the relevant fields of scientific expertise. In your letter, you claim to have ‘always tried to engage with those who oppose animal research and take proper account of their objections’, and that it is ‘unacceptable’ that research ‘is impeded or prevented by extreme action’. We therefore call upon you to agree to participate in the thorough scientific debate, as called for by the Parliamentary EDMs and their growing support.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Packham, Ricky Gervais, Peter Egan, Paul O’Grady, Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, Lesley Nicol, Jill Robinson MBE, Jane Fallon, Rick Wakeman and Rumer.

This Open Letter will remain live at FLOE, where additional public figures can sign it.


Footage filmed at laboratory Beagle puppy breeders, B&K Universal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H7zq65P_Yc&t

Prof. Colin Blakemore narrating a film about his light deprivation experiments on kittens.

British Medical Journal Editor’s Choice, June 2014, ‘How Predictive and Productive is Animal Research?’, available here.

Quotes by pharmaceutical companies against using animal testing, available here.

Dr. Jane Goodall’s filmed statement calling for the rigorous science hearing.

Expert science lecture against using animals to study humans, given by leading medical doctor Ray Greek in July 2017, University of British Columbia.

Patients Campaigning For Cures

Americans and Europeans for Medical Advancement (AFMA/EFMA)

The science-based campaign For Life On Earth (FLOE)