In the famous animal acitivsts trial 13 animal welfare acitivists were aquitted of the charge of being part of a criminal organization and of all other charges. §278a penal code (criminal organization) was also changed in a way that the legal work of NGOs shall not be criminalized anymore.
But for 5 activists the juridical farce continues. According to the verdict of the Higher Regional Court announcing a legal and peaceful info campaign to a company (because they sell fur products in this case) is coercion. This verdict would make every campaign of Greenpeace, Four Paws, etc. illegal since also these organizations announce and start legal campaigns against questionable businesses of certain companies. The E-Mails in which one of the activists announced legal (and constitutionally protected) demonstrations are polite and obviously no dangerous threat. Even the management of the companies thought the same, because they themselves claimed that they did not take the E-Mails serious, so they couldn’t even see any dangerous threat and ignored the topic – until the legal demonstrations became annoying to them because people were informed about fur products and which companies still sell them.
In the context of the first animal activists trial (as “Tierschützerprozess” known in Austria) the management of the company “Kleider Bauer” called the Interior ministry (because of an acquaintance in the ministry) and already the next day a special commission was set up to monitor every move of over 100 activists. That there was no evidence at all for any crime this didn’t stop anybody, especially not the quite delusional prosecutor, to start a trial anyway. The activists were aquitted, millions of tax money wasted, and people economically ruined (because Austria doesn’t have to repay aquitted people the legal fees) but the prosecutor wants to see the activists imprisoned, so he appealed against a part of the sentence. Reading the verdict of the Higher Regional Court it seems like a very desperate try to justify the waste of tax money at all costs, even if that means, peaceful activists have to go to prison. It even is democratically very questionable because assemblies (like demonstrations) are a basic right and because all basic rights are equal, the interests of companies cannot be made superior to other causes (neither the other way around).
It can clearly be seen that in Austria those who have the most money or better even, successful companies, can also influence the legal system indirectly and partly directly. Instead of legal consequences for real criminal organizations (for whom the §278a was constituted), like companies that ignore human rights, environment, animal welfare, etc. people who seem threatening to the business with violence by speaking up for non-violence, are criminalized.
§ 278a, also called Mafia-Paragraph, was changed, so that NGOs who support ethical interests and participate only in peaceful campaings (demonstrations, infotables, handing out leaflets, etc) and therefore want to influence politics and economy, can't be criminalized anymore. The wording "considerable influence on politics and economy" was removed from the Mafia-Paragraph. The conservative party tried to stop this process, because, as they claimed, they want to have a legal method against (animal) activists who work against the industry (meat industry, pestizide industry, fur industry, etc). All the other parties, though, voted for adapting the Mafia-Paragraph to the principles of a democracy. The ÖVP (conservative party) then stated that there will still be other ways to get rid of activists threatening the industry (and the powerful).
Animal welfare is since 2013 part of the Austrian constitution, although the wording is quite weak in order to be able to still legally exploit them. The conservative party tried to stop that attempt as well and was successful 17 years! Fur production is illegal in Austria since 1998 because of ethical reasons (probably no need to mention that the conservative party had other plans).
About the trade with very questionable and even unnecessary products like fur, exotic animal skins and also about animal cruelty in factory farms or during hunts, this constitutional policy doesn’t change a lot.
Although legally animals are not considered as things, they still can be treated like things. And although most people in Austria don’t accept the fur trade and despite of the constitutional animal welfare policy the Higher Regional Court calls animal welfare an "abstract value with no necessity of response" (the expressions are very hard to translate because partly they were invented by the Higher Regional Court). This argument they use to explain that animal rights activists have no right to announce peaceful demonstrations.
The trial against animal rights activists continues. The famous and award-winning movie “Der Prozess” (The trial) shows how an NGO can be criminalized. All of the defendants were acquitted of the charges. But the seemingly insane prosecutor appeals against the decision and in the verdict of the Higher Regional Court two judges claim that announcing a legal and peaceful campaign in order to stop the trade with ethically questionable products (for example fur) is a dangerous threat and grave coercion. And if a campaign isn’t announced to the affected company, demonstrations can still be interpreted as implicit threat. Also legally everybody who is part of the realization of the coercion or threat (by organizing a campaign) is threatening and coercing, so if a lot of people sign a petition, write protest emails, speak with responsible persons or partizipate in peaceful and legal demonstrations they all would be criminals. Even strike can be interpreted as a threat and coercion considering this verdict.
Already the first part of the huge animal rights trial (as it is called) was a juridical shame and an embarrassment, millions of euros tax money were wasted and in Austria legally acquitted people aren’t compensated for the unjustified detention awaiting trial or the monstrous trial or legal fees.
Still since the prosecutor wants at least some of the people economically completely ruined and convicted of anything, the trial continues for 5 activists. As a result another charge actually is animal abuse because one of the defendants opened the door of a factory farm with the result that some of the pigs chose to leave it and some didn’t. So naturally some started to fight outside and were lightly injured. Animal abuse legally needs a malice which no animal rights activist has.
The charge of coercion and threat by announcing a legal campaign is dangerous for every NGO in Austria. Not only animal rights activists can be accused. Therefore we need network of various NGOs to join the solidarity. Over 1000 people have already signed a pre-formatted self-denunciation on www.vgt.atbecause they are also guilty of announcing a legal campaign to a company selling ethically questionable products. At least 4 people, including myself, have created an individual self-denunciation. I have also “threatened” companies of the arms industry to end the trade with arms because it’s a danger to global peace. That means I “coerced” them to bail out of the arms business and “threatened” to harm their sozial position in nearly the same wording as the concerned defendant did – very kind and harmless:
i am writing to you on behalf of all citizens who wish for a non-violent society and non-violent companies. The demand is simply the end of the arms business. Arms prevent peace in a society who evolved ethically and morally.
If you company isn’t willing to bail out of the arms business, we have to start a peaceful campaign against your company, by informing the public, organizing peaceful demonstrations and invoke a public protest.
The social rank of the arms industry is already questioned due to the ethical evolution of mankind. So it is only a question of time. There is no use for delaying the progression of peace and non-violence just because of profit.
Exploiting animals might soon be protected in the Austrian constitution instead of animal welfare!
For german-speakers: http://www.veggies-linz.at/ovp-fpo-und-spo-wollen-unzureichende-tierschutz-bestimmung/ Bill: http://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/VHG/XXIV/A/A_02316/index.shtml
In Austria the citizen's request of raising animal welfare into the constitution is already 17 years old. Despite of the fact that a majority of people in Austria supports this, one party (the ÖVP - conservatives) ignored and delayed every attempt to enforce the claim until now.
Now it seems that the ÖVP together with the social party (SPÖ ) and the liberals (FPÖ ) agreed to a bill for a federal constitutional law which should include animal welfare.
BUT now they deliberately chose a very shallow wording for animal welfare in the constitution, plus they also want to enforce a protection for hunting and exploiting animals in factory farms and animal testing, in the very same federal constitutional law that includes animal welfare. This way animal welfare becomes meaningless due to the additional articles protecting animal exploitation.
After 17 years waiting this is nothing but teasing!!
The SPÖ is being used as a marionette of the ÖVP in their coalition, although due to the elections this years September the SPÖ could vote against them! The only way to achieve the expungement of the articles that support animal exploitation and choose a more sufficient wording of animal welfare is to contact media (reader's letters) and contact the SPÖ and FPÖ. The ÖVP has shown that their strategy only includes lying and ignoring as long as possible. Sadly this strategy is democracy-proof which is why there is no use in contacting them about this matter anymore. SPÖ and FPÖ, together with the Green Party can change and improve the bill.
Since the next general election in Austria is in September the SPÖ could vote against their coalition partner (ÖVP). We have to convince them and the FPÖ and the Green Party to vote for a better federal constitutional law, against the ÖVP!
Animal welfare spokesmen:
FPÖ: email@example.com SPÖ: firstname.lastname@example.org Green Party: email@example.com
For further questions about the campain you can contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Veganmania Season in Austria and Germany is beginning again. In some cities only one day, in others three day long festivals promoting human- and animalrights and environmentalism.
It is becoming more colourful and better-attended every year. Also during the years more and more cities joined in with the celebration because the number of caring humans is rising every day - so does the number of vegan cakes served at the festival. But the ethical evolution of humans isn't complete yet. Ethics is still sometimes devided between human beings and "the others".
But during the festival many people learn to open their minds and hearts also to animals, wildlife and environmental concerns. The food served is always vegan, biological and fairtrade/regional and of course delicious. This way people get to know the huge variety of vegan food. By adopting it in their daily lifes they also get to know the health benefits.
This year at the Fair Planet (Veganmania in the Upper Austrian city Linz) the author and cook Katja Kaminski was invited to cook a three-course meal which she shared with the winners of the creative contest offered there.
But also everybody else was able to enjoy hot vegan meals cooked by committed activists and inform themselves about how they can affect the welfare and life of other humans, animals and the environment in their daily lives.
(sign says: "When is Animal Welfare in the constitution?")
Animal Rights Activists of VgT (Verein gegen Tierfabriken – Association against factory farming) and Veggies-Linz met on 5th April 2013 in front of the OEVP office (Austrian conservative party) to urge the long overdue realization of an important concern – of over 70% percent of Austrians.
Also in Linz, the provincial capital of upper Austria, people are asking when the OEVP finally wants to protect the life and well-being of animals as our fellow beings. Because the OEVP is now since almost 17 years the only Austrian party who does not participate in the realization of raising animal welfare into our constitution, active animal friends wanted to point out that it all depends on the OEVP now.
Activists in the character of the OEVP put activists in the character of the animals in chains and symbolically oppressed them. With banners and signs they additionally clarified the concern that is not only important to over 60 animal welfare organisations but also ¾ of the Austrians – a very clear majority.
( sign says: "OEVP stands for animal cruelty.")
To sign the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/558/939/213/austria-animal-welfare-into-the-constitution/ or: www.tierschutz-in-die-verfassung.at
History: In 2004 the OEVP too agreed in the nem con parliamentary decision to do so. Before this they disregarded the Austrian wide petition for animal welfare into the constitution which 146.000 people had signed. Since then they are using excuse after excuse. Every other party is waiting to realize the decision.
Mercifulness, compassion and moral are the catchphrases of our society and appearantly the unique qualities of mankind – for all those people who haven’t deleted those words from their conscience. Easter is the current occasion for compassion with all beings, but sadly the original meaning of the birth of compassion and love for all our fellow beings, humans and other animals, is being alienated more and more. The animal rights actions during easter in Austria also considered the religious aspect of animal welfare.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Mat. 25, 40)
Instead of love there are coloured eggs and the easter roast. They don’t speak our languages, so some take advantage of it, but some dare to speak for them.
On 30th of March animal rights activists demonstrated very graphically how livestock bear their cross to the slaughterhouse and are killed there for our greed. Meat consumption, especially the current extent of it in the civilized part of the world, is nowadays nothing more than greed and old habbits.
Once mankind needed meat to survive in cold winters when we lived in caves – or in the religious view: when the earth was flooded, except for the animals on Noah’s Ark. We have evolved in many ways since then, but obviously many did not ethically.
“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Gen. 1, 29)
On Easter Sunday 3 activists informed mass visitors in front of a catholic church about the cruel life conditions for laying hens in Austria. We enjoy the colourful eggs and the easter egg hunt but the life of the hens who produced them for us is ignored. Barn eggs are seen as alternative to cage eggs in Austria. Battery cages are forbidden in Austria, which of course is a big improvement. Sadly there are still so called widened cages (which are slightly bigger) for less hens than in battery cages and there are still barn hens. Living in a barn sounds like a nice life, but in one barn in Austria farmers are allowed to keep 6000 hens. This causes not only too little space in most cases but also injuries and sickness because of the poor hygiene. Only few farmers can afford to keep their hens in low numbers and outside. If there was such a high consumption of eggs the whole year as there is during easter, there would be no such small farms anymore at all. All farmers get their new hens from hatcheries where they are bred by machines. When they hatch, they are selected on their first day – males from females. When consumption was far less than today the males were used for meat production. The laying breed males don’t produce a lot meat, that’s why today there is another breed that produces more meat in less time, which makes the males from the laying breed useless. They are gassed the first day of their lives. The chicks who hatch too late, no matter if male or female, are being shredded with the egg shells.
The number of suffering hens can only be reduced and one day vanquished after a radical reduction or avoidance of eggs and egg products. Especially the products which contain eggs that aren’t classified as free-range usually come from caged hens.
“As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.” (Ecclesiastes 3, 18-19)
I have just now finished to translate from English to German of "The story of Humphrey the Hereford" by Stephen Marcus Finn.
It's basically about a unique friendship between a Crow and a Calve, both lived on a milkfarm for a long time, ruled by an evil man, called Dev, or uncle Dev. Caw, the crow was captured by him as a fledgling, had his wings cut and was chained up. Humphrey, the Hereford was born like many other calves on the milkfarm. But the children, who also lived there adopted him and made him their pet, despite of the harsh objections of Dev. Over the years Caw, Humphrey and the children Nick and Lindi developed a deep friendship. Caw was even able to learn their language and talk to them.
His amazing speech talent enables him to tell the story of Humphrey the Hereford, his life and his fate. Caw is the Einstein of birds, as he calls himself, brilliant, cunning, clever and proud. He tells the story with much humour and has a talent for repeating things often or changing the topic.
It's a very emotional story, both positive and negative. There is a strong message that has to lead to a consequent change of people's lifestyle.
I wish that many children and adults read this book and understand.
After a short break the campaign to finally get animal welfare into the Austrian constitution will continue, starting on 6th March with peaceful confrontation with the only political party, the conservatives (ÖVP), that is still blocking every attempt for animal welfare since now almost 17 years!
After a long waiting time the subcommittee for the legal uplift of animal welfare into the Austrian constitution finally found together. But the conservatives always ignored the appointments of the sessions and were using every opportunity to delay the plans. But the huge number of demonstrations and protests last spring and summer did show their effects. The conservative politicians, especially Austrians Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelleger, received thousands of protest e-mails against their delay-and-detain politics about animal welfare. Letters and comments about it were published in a variety of newspapers and concerned people even confronted them at open performances so that the responsible politicians had to make a statement trying to justify the delaying.
Still there was no success. We became quiet for a while to recover from the stress of the intense campaign, but again activists are joining together to raise their voice for animals.
We have to reach the goal for animals before the votes September. After the votes the conservatives won’t bother about the pressure from the public anymore.
The campaign officially starts on 6th March, when activists are going to peacefully confront the conservative party in person at their head office in Vienna.
You can also sign the petition online to support the campaign. Help us achieve this animal welfare reform in Austria!
Time is running out! ACT FAST − the deadline is February 28th and we urgently need your signature on two petitions to help Captain Watson and the whales!
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Take strong action to stop the Japanese from killing whales in the Southern Ocean Antarctic Whale Sanctuary: http://wh.gov/Vnbu
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The Austrian Poultry Quality Union wants to enforce less space for laying hens, broiler chicken and turkeys under pretense of using antibiotics more efficiently. They call their aim “ poultry health program” - a very nice synonym of greed for profit.
If they pull through their plan this means a large step back in the Austrian animal welfare after all the accomplishments in the last few years. Fur farms are already banned and so are battery cages for laying hens. Sadly also barn eggs are produced almost equally cruel. Even if these hens are no longer it is still allowed to keep up to 6000 hens in one barn, which is completely overpowering for an animal who can only cope with about 50 individuals in a group. But still the PQU wants to increase the number of hens per square meter.
„Poultry health“ is a very misleading term. The little space and unhygienic conditions of the poultry farms are the reason for the necessity of antibiotics in the first place. If health was their priority, they’d plead for stricter controls in the welfare of the animals.
Healthy animals who aren’t experiencing stress from the horrible keeping conditions all the time require less or no antibiotics.
A complete ban of animal farms isn’t possible at once, but small reforms might also reach the goal. Legally animals are only things, so hopefully the health minister of Austria knows that we therefore politically need morally appropriate decisions.
For all who also want to encourage the health ministry not to approve of the PQU’s request may contact: email@example.com
And for firm protests against the request contact the office of the PQU (German QGV): firstname.lastname@example.org