Mel Broughton is a British animal rights activist best known for co-founding the SPEAK campaign against animal testing at Oxford University in 2004.
Broughton has been involved in animal rights for decades, first coming to public attention in 1988 when he and fellow activists – including Barry Horne – attempted to rescue a dolphin called Rocky from a small swimming pool in Lancashire. Although this specific action was unsuccessful, thanks to continued pressure from activists, Rocky was later released back into the wild.
In 2006, Broughton appeared on BBC’s Newsnight to debate vivisection.1Archive of Animal Liberation Films on the ‘Net. 2016. Newsnight: Vivisection Debate – 2006. [online video] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddLBbCy7vOU [Accessed 28 October 2021].
In 2007, Broughton was charged with conspiracy to blackmail and possession of incendiary devices relating to the SPEAK campaign. Despite having his conviction overturned, he was eventually found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.2Press Association. 2010. Judge jails animal rights arsonist Mel Broughton for 10 years. Guardian. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jul/13/animal-rights-activist-mel-broughton-jailed [Accessed 28 October 2021].
In 2020, Broughton and other activists started the MBR Beagles Campaign to draw attention to MBR Acres, a company in Cambridgeshire that breeds and sells beagles to the animal testing industry. In 2021, Camp Beagle was established as a long term protest outside the facility.3Rambles with my camera. 2021. Mel Broughton Interview at the Gates of Hell MBR Beagles Camp. [online video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3mTKqvullM [Accessed 28 October 2021]. Despite MBR Acres trying to have the camp removed, Camp Beagle won the right to remain and continue their protest.
“In 2018 alone, 219,551 animals died at Oxford in the name of research… and research for what? Scientists know what they’re practising is an outdated science, that has no place n the 21st century… We have the means to help ourselves without torturing sentient beings.”4SPEAK Campaigns. 2019. Mel Broughton, SPEAK Campaigns at World Day for Animals in Laboratories, April 27th 2019. [online video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YqYddIJXu8 [Accessed 28 October 2021].