In September, Pauline Broughton, 70, and another unidentified animal rights activists were injured at a protest against Oxford University after a construction worker allegedly threw a white, burning substance on them.
Broughton and the other activist were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated and released. The construction worker was arrested and released after posting bail.
Before I go any further — and there is much more to this story — let me re-emphasize my position. Violence is wrong whether committed by animal rights activists or their opponents. Those who advocate, excuse, justify or commit such acts of violence have no place in a responsible movement. As for the construction worker, if this event happened as reported, he should have the book thrown at him.
It’s too bad the Broughton and her son, Mel Broughton, do not share this view that violence is wrong. Mel Broughton is a spokesman for SPEAK and was at the protest where his mother was injured. Broughton told This Is Oxfordshire,
This is not the first time stuff has been thrown at us but it was worrying this time because the white liquid caused a burning sensation and we don’t know what it was. My mother suffered soreness around her eyes and some of this liquid went in her mouth. She is still sore but I think she is going to be okay. This will not put us off and my mum will be back next week to demonstrate. Speak is a peaceful campaign and will continue to be so — we will not retaliate in a violent way.
In fact, Mel Broughton was convicted in 1998 of conspiracy to cause arson. Broughton was arrested along with Anthony Humphries after police discovered incendiary devices in their car. The duo planned to use the devices to bomb a Huntingdon Life Sciences facility. As recently as August, Broughton told The London Telegraph that he did not regret his arrest.
Pauline Broughton is active with the UK’s Vegan Prisoners Support Group which, according to its web site is involved in “supporting vegan animal rights prisoners of conscience.” You know, prisoners of conscience like David Blenkinsop who is serving a five year sentence for an animal rights bombing campaign in Great Britain. Pauline has among other things worked diligently to ensure that Blenkinsop is able to obtain vegan food in prison. Only the best for those who commit acts of violence as long as they agree with the Broughtons.
Protesters suffer burns. This Is Oxfordshire, September 11, 2004.
Vegan Prisoners Support Group Newsletter. September 2003.
Two men remanded on conspiracy charge. Press Association, January 19, 1998.
Animal rights activists plan training camp for militants. Catriona Davis, July 29, 2004.
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