Open Rescue of Lab Animals in Vienna
April 28, 2003 Vienna, Austria

Rescue report by Dr Martin Balluch, President of the VGT:

Just before 2pm on April 28, 2003, about 35 activists from the Austrian animal rights group Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (Association Against Animal Factories) entered the Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Vienna. The facility had been so thoroughly researched, and the timing of the action so carefully orchestrated, that with the help of an animal technician, all doors were open exactly at the time it was necessary for the activists to enter.

Most activists went straight into the animal area in the cellar. Many photographs and video footage were taken, and nine animals were liberated. Within eight minutes all activists had left the scene. After eleven minutes police arrived.

Of the rescued rats eight are male and one female, the latter being pregnant. Two are black and white and the other seven albino rats. Two rats had their tails cut off with the use of an elastic that restricted the bloodflow until the tail had died and fell off. The tail is then used for cancer testing.

Seven activists went straight to the third floor, to the office and lab of Professor Wolfgang Huber, a notorious vivisector. In September 2002 Professor Huber had started coffee-experiments on 312 rats: for 14 days the rats were only fed coffee and then cancer was induced in all of them. On April 28 the killing of those seriously ill animals was to start.

The seven activists went up into his area, three went into his office and barricaded themselves in. They hung a banner outside and spoke with a microphone to the gathering crowd on the streets. Due to careful research the sizes of the door were exactly known, so the activists brought equipment with them, with which they could blockade the door very swiftly and securely.

At the same time the other four activists had entered the lab to take pictures and briefly check documents. A couple of vivisectors bumped into them, one of whom, Professor Bursch, who infects animals with bacteria and studies cancer development of artificially induced cancers in their bodies, attacked an activist and attempted to suffocate him. Another vivisector attacked the activists with pepper-spray. At this point the activists left the lab.

However, the vivisectors reported to police that they had been attacked with a noxious gas. So the fire service came, the building was sealed off and was evacuated. Our three activists in the office now had the chance to talk with their megaphone to the whole department on the streets, an opportunity which they took full advantage of.

More than 100 police and fire fighters gathered, dressed in chemical-proof clothes, with gas masks and pressure-air bottles, and a huge amount of equipment, including at least seven big fire engines. At that time the press was fed incorrect information that the activists were threatening to release poisonous gas (evening news) and that they had tried to abduct somebody. The anti-terrorist squad came too. After two and a half hours the police broke through the barricade: about 30 men with gas masks and all! What a weird sight. The three peaceful occupants did not know what it was all about. They were arrested and released without charge early next morning.

Verein Gegen Tierfabriken was founded in 1992. Originally conceived as a group solely concerned with animal factories, the association has now firmly embraced the animal rights philosophy and espouses the vegan ideal.

Click on any photo for larger version

the pressure cabin where the rats are kept in sterile, stimulus-free boxes

this rats tail had been mutilated by the vivisectors

animal experimentor, professor bursch, who assaulted one of the activists

the activist choked by professor bursch, almost to the point of unconsciousness.

freedom! this rat will no longer be experimented upon

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