Saturday, May 29, 2004
Chancellor Schuessel, sending a stern message
The new law primarily targets pet owners or breeders who bob tails or clip ears for style of breed such as Dobermans, but it also addresses the plight of hen house chickens banning brooder cages and mandates that the chickens are to be allowed free range.
Other farm animals are included in the revisions as well as circus animals. Invisible shock fences and choke chains are out.
The Austrian animal rights advocacy group Four Paws was instrumental in garnering support for the revisions and all four main parties in the National Assembly backed the measures.
Opposition from some farm groups and special interests was largely ineffective in moderating or blocking passage of the laws but there are some concessions, mainly those that integrate the laws over a period of time.
The general consensus remains, however, that this legislation, now law is the strongest animal welfare act to date and should set the high mark. It is widely anticipated that other nations will follow suit.