The first of the 3 retrials took place today and the judge gave the verdict of not guilty to the activist, accused of animal cruelty and criminal damage for allegedly releasing pigs from a pig barn into a meadow.
The prosecution could forget their original dream of € 5000 damages as the judge quickly established that there had been no damage done and that indeed, the three dead pigs, used as grounds for the charge of cruelty, were already dead as a result of the dismal conditions on the farm.
This seems to be a newish tactic form those supporting animal abuse, namely to accuse animal activists of cruelty. It is reassuring to see that some judges are able to see this for the low down trick it is, but it is also frustrating because of the way reports to the police of animal welfare laws being broken are consistently ignored.
Today’s result gives us some hope that the justice system in Austria can function correctly, but of course, does not make up for the damage and trauma caused to the accused. We look forward to this continued civilised approach for the remaining two retrials.