Animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Elphinstone is “inhumane and unnecessary” claims activists who will stage a demonstration outside the facility on Saturday.

East Lothian Uncaged was formed in August this year by a group of five who are speaking out against animal testing at the facility.

Charles River Laboratories, founded in 1947, currently operates 110 research facilities across the globe and carry out medical research for drugs and other products.

The group’s facility in Elphinstone is a centre for research and animal testing is carried out at the facility as part of this work. It says it is "deeply committed" to animal welfare and exceeds international standards

Jessica Milburn lives in Haddington and is one of the founding members of East Lothian Uncaged.

She told the Courier: “Charles River has been in East Lothian for a long time but I think a lot of people don’t even know they are there or what goes on there."

And she claimed: "Research shows that 95 per cent of drugs tested on animals fail in human testing. So thousands of animals are dying for no reason.

“Puppies, monkeys, rats, fish and more are being pumped full of drugs and then discarded. Is this really humane?

“We don't think so. We believe it's inhumane and unnecessary.”

East Lothian Uncaged will hold a demonstration outside the facility on Saturday at 12.45pm. The group will meet at Tranent Aldi and then march to the facility.

At 1.45pm, the group will form at Civic Square, Tranent where they will hand out leaflets to members of the public about their concerns. The group has previously held a demonstration here last month.

Miss Milburn said: “We have been in discussions with other animal groups including Camp Beagle, who are speaking out against beagles being used for experiments.

“Beagles are the most common dog breed used in the UK for experiments as they are quite placid."

And she claimed: “The dogs are shipped from the United States to the Netherlands and then to Manchester before being transported to East Lothian. Puppies are being used for experiments and then killed.”

Miss Milburn added: "We are a peaceful group and there will be about 20 of us there demonstrating peacefully.

“We would like to see changes to the laws long term to ban animal testing on this scale. In this day and age it is not necessary.”

A Charles River spokesperson said: "The survival rates for major diseases are at an all-time high due in part to the discovery of new medicines and therapies. The use of animal research models remains a vital component of these discoveries and is required by international regulatory agencies.

"Charles River Laboratories is deeply committed to animal welfare and exceeding international standards for the care of research models under our stewardship. We are committed to the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) and, when possible, our goal is to reduce the number of animals used.

"As animal caregivers and scientific researchers, we are responsible to our clients and the public for the health and well-being of the animals in our care, and we strive to fulfill that responsibility on a daily basis."