This week we catch up with Martin Balluch – Austrian physicist, philosopher and animal rights activist. Balluch co-founded the Austrian Vegan Society in 1999, and has been president of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories since 2002.
Balluch was instrumental in a number of animal welfare changes, including the banning of battery cages, the banning of the sale of live animals in pet shops and the addition of the following clause to the Austrian constitution: “The state protects the life and well-being of animals due to the special responsibility of mankind with respect to animals as their fellows.”
For more on how all of this was accomplished, listen to our interview from 2004 with Balluch by clicking here.
On 21 May 2008, Balluch was one of 10 leaders of Austrian animal advocacy groups jailed without charge under a law aimed at organized crime. The court recommended that the activists be held until September. Balluch responded by launching a hunger strike, which led to his being artificially fed. He was released on 3 September 2008. In February 2010, the state prosecution announced that enough evidence had been found to put 13 animal protection activists, including the ten who had spent three months in custody, on trial. He has been fighting charges ever since.
We catch up with Balluch in his office to hear about his arrest, his treatment in prison and his dangerous but effective hunger strike.
Listen right now: