Release, 28 May, 2008:
Indefensible Attack against Animal Welfare Movement
House and Office Raids, Ten Arrests, No Concrete Charges, and a String of
Human Rights Violations result in Seven People on Hungerstrike
morning of 21st May saw the first massive raid from police against the animal
welfare movement through out the whole of Austria.
of twenty-four homes and offices of animal welfare activists and organisations
were raided by police at 6.15 a.m., Harald Balluch, managing director of
the VGT (Association against Animal Factories) described the scene in his
flat. “I awoke to the sound of the door being broken in, immediately
a group of farmed and masked people surrounded my bed where my girlfriend
and I were sleeping and aimed their weapons at us. They screamed at me that
they would shoot me in the head if I moved. We have two elderly rescued
dogs, who were brutally manhandled. As you can imagine, all four of us were
absolutely terrified. Seven organisations have been affected and ten people
were taken into custody. Police have justified this action by saying that
the campaigners are suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation §278a
of the Austrian criminal code. However, after a week of keeping these people
in custody no charges have been made against them.
for animals achieved by the Austrian movement have set a world wide example.
The animal welfare movement in Austria has achieved a great deal for animals
in the last years. The success list includes a ban on fur farms, a ban on
wild animals in circuses, a ban on caged rabbits used for meat and a ban
on battery cages for chickens. Austria is regarded world wide as one of,
if not the most impressive country in terms of animal welfare. These successes
are entirely down to researching the conditions that animals are kept in,
giving the public access to this information and political lobbying. Harald
Balluch distances himself and the VGT from any illegal activities.”
This police action is designed to discredit the work being done for animals.
The intention is to damage the reputation of animal campaigners and campaign
work. Through the police raids, our office along with four others, has been
brought to a stand still. Our computers with our complete data bank have
been taken along with all our mobile phones and years of research material.
We have no possibility of contacting our supporters. Our phone and fax lines
were also out of order for sometime after the raid making contact with media
String of human rights violations
representing the ten campaigners have issued formal complaints against the
police concerning a string of human rights violations. These include detention
without being charged for all those on remand, unnecessary force used by
the police during the house raids and DNA samples being taken from two of
the detainees against their will using force.
effort to protest against this injustice, seven of the people on remand
are on hunger strike. Their request for diluted fruit juice was denied,
so they are just drinking water Martin Balluch’s family and girlfriend,
who were allowed to visit him for the first time on 27th May, on the seventh
day after his arrest, commented after seeing Martin “We were absolutely
horrified by Martin’s condition. This is now his seventh day on hunger
strike and his movements and speech are extremely weak and slow.”
Please show your support for human rights by writing protest mails to the
following Austrian politicians. These random acts of police repression could
happen to any one of us, who cares about how animals are treated:
Secretary; Dr Günter Platter firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister for Justice; Frau Dr Berger email@example.com
Federal President; Dr Heinz Fischer firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Chancellor; Dr Alfred Gusenbauer
Rousseau: Power Corrupts And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
(Animal Friends, Croatia)