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Campaigner ‘proud’ of protest at site where beagles bred for medical research

An anti-vivisection campaigner has told a High Court judge he is “proud” of the part he has played in protests against the “crimes” of a company that runs a facility where beagles are bred for medical research.

John Curtin told Mr Justice Nicklin he had “literally lived” outside the MBR Acres site in Wyton, Cambridgeshire, for nearly two years.

He defended his right to “legally protest” at the site – and to call MBR Acres workers “puppy killers”.

anti vivisection court case
Animal Rebellion activists during a break-in at MBR Acres (Animal Rebellion/PA)

But he said he wanted to challenge anyone suggesting his protest activities were “threatening”.

The judge is overseeing the latest stage of a legal fight over animal rights demonstrations at the MBR Acres site.

He has heard how protesters set up “Camp Beagle” in summer 2021.

Lawyers representing the company previously persuaded a judge to impose interim injunctions limiting protest activities.

They have now asked Mr Justice Nicklin to make final injunctions.

Mr Justice Nicklin is overseeing a High Court trial in London which is due to end next week.

The judge has heard that pop star Will Young took part in a demonstration outside the Wyton site.

Young is not involved in the High Court litigation.

Will Young
Will Young during a protest outside the MBR Acres research site (Camp Beagle/PA)

“Since July 2021, I have been protesting and campaigning outside MBR,” Mr Curtin, who gave his address as “Camp Beagle”, told the judge in a written statement.

“I have literally lived there.”

He said he was “defending my right to legally protest”.

“I defend my right to call all workers at MBR Acres puppy killers,” he added.

“This establishment has got a licence to kill puppies.

“I am proud of my conduct while protesting against the crimes of MBR.”

Barrister Caroline Bolton, leading MBR Acres’ legal team, told the judge the company is seeking “final injunctive relief” against named people and “persons unknown”.

She said the defendants’ goal was to cause staff to leave their jobs and “bring an end” to “lawful and necessary” activities.