Activists Blockade Live Transport of Pigs in Austria
The long distance live transport of pigs is often neglected by animal advocates. In Austria we found that there is a regular supply of pigs being transported from Belgium to Austria, with 30 hours travel, only to be slaughtered here. While local breeding and slaughter is equally abhorrent, the general atmosphere in Austrian society against live transport and fur is very conducive to media reports and public sympathy for any animal rights actions concerning those issues. Hence, some animal rights people decided to connect the issue of abuse and death of pigs in factory farms with the live transport issue.
After following Belgique live pig transporters on a number of occasions, animal activists found that at least every Thursday or Friday night, about 500 pigs in two lorries with trailers are being transported to the slaughterhouse in Graz in the South-East of Austria. So, on the night of September 23rd, activists stopped the lorries outside this slaughterhouse, and blockaded the entire slaughterhouse with a mass sit in. The first lorry driver, however, did not stop and drove through the line of people, dragging two activists between his front wheels for at least 30 meters. The lorry was eventually stopped only when an activist pulled the trailer's break pipes out of their sockets, blocking the trailer breaks. Police soon arrived, but ignored the complaints by the animal rights activists. A TV news team that had come with the activists had the attempted murder by the lorry driver on film but mysteriously lost the footage. Nevertheless, the blockade was a news item. Police soon removed the activists from the slaughterhouse entrance.
But there was more to come. On the night of November 25th, approximately 50 activists laid an ambush for the two Belgian lorries just off the motorway near Kirchdorf in Upper Austria. Around 1 AM on the 26th, the lorries were stopped by a roadblock of five activist cars. A number of activists locked onto the pig transport lorries with bicycle d-locks. One driver became enraged and started lashing out at activists, but the shear number of animal rights people present ensured that no one was injured.
Most pigs on the transport had large, fresh bruises and wounds from having been beaten and whipped, and all were exhausted. The pigs were crowded so densely that there was no space for any of them to lie down. The driver explained that this was for their own good, as otherwise they would fly around when the lorry turned with the curves of the road.
Three quarters of an hour later the police arrived. After long discussions and inspections of the lorry, police gave the activists an ultimatum to leave. The activists refused to unlock. A couple of hours later, the emergency squad arrived and eventually all the activists were cut free from the lorries.