Update on Austrian Hen Rescue
March 25, 2003 Austria
On March 14, 2003 the Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (Association Against Animal Factories) saved seven hens from a battery hen factory in Lower Austria. (full story here)
Following is the update by Dr Martin Balluch, President of the VGT, on the ensuing occupation of the governor of Lower Austria's office.
After our rescue action of 7 battery chickens on 14th March, with a report to police and a full admittance to the activity on our side, we increased pressure on the battery farming community in Austria : on 25th March 18 activists went into the office of the governor of the province of Lower Austria, Austria's largest province with the biggest number of battery farms including the farm we had rescued the hens from.
5 activists locked on in an octopus position. We also had 4 dead hens from a factory farm, which we put in the centre of the room. We also unfolded a big banner on the balcony and a smaller inside the office. Police came swiftly, soon blocked all escape routes and all entrances, but did nothing to us.
After 4 hours of occupation, the governor came and spoke to us. He was amazingly calm and pro animal advocacy, and looked at the pictures and video and promised to push for the prosecution of the battery farm, as well as for a nation-wide ban on battery farming. On 10th April there is a big meeting in parliament, between politics, agro-business and ar/aw groups, to debate a new law. He promised he will side with us on this day.
Mind you, coming Sunday are provincial elections in Lower Austria. But still. It was enough for us to leave the office after 4 hours 30 minutes without being IDed, except for me. I will be charged with a public disorder offence, I was told by police.
We got good media coverage. A TV station went on 27th March with me to the owner of the battery farm we had rescued the hens from and I confronted him. 5 of 9 provinces have already banned battery farms in Austria, and we used similar tactics as in the 1990s against fur farming to get a nation-wide ban on battery farming in Austria: we will pick on each and every farm now, and pressure politicians to ban it. The majority of the public is on our side already.
Click on any photo for larger version
VGT activists occupy the governor's office
activist with poster of the zichtl battery hen farm
dead hens from the zichtl battery farm are shown at the governor's office
activists lock down in an octopus position
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dr martin balluch interviewed by the media