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Tom Regan: Austria's assault on human rights

July 9, 2008

To:
ministerbuero@bmi.gv.at,
minister.justiz@bmi.gv.at,
heinz.fischer@hofburg.at,
alfred.gusenbauer@bka.gv.at


Gentlemen:

On a number of occasions in the past, I have had the honor of lecturing in your country about the serious moral issue of animal rights. (As for my qualifications, see the web sites accompanying signature below). Always I have been treated with respect. Never have I experienced the slightest attempt to silence my message. For my wife and myself, and for the literally millions of animal rights advocates throughout the world, your justly venerated nation has stood like a beacon of civility in a world all too often marked by the opposite.

More than showing civility to humans, progressive improvement for nonhumans has marked your country's recent history. A national ban on fur farms and rabbit cage farming. A national ban against the performance of wild animals in circuses. A national ban against vivisection on apes. No other nation, I make bold to assert, has been the equal of Austria when it comes to history's march towards informed, compassionate, respectful treatment of nonhuman animals.

And so it has come as a sad message indeed, for us to learn of your government's recent attempt to intimidate and silence Austrian animal rights advocates. I will spare you the details, as I am sure you know them well. (Or, perhaps, not well enough). Rather, as a friend of your nation, let me just say this.

Increasingly, Austria is seen as a country that has lost its moral compass. Increasingly, Austria is seen as a country that is ruled by unelected special interests rather than the public will. Increasingly, Austria is seen as a country that would squash human rights in the name of state sponsored opposition to whatever special interests can buy.

Gentlemen, step back from where you are and look afresh at what your government and its law enforcement agencies are doing--and where they are taking you. They are making a mockery of generations of Austrians who have lived and died for the heritage of democratic traditions. It does not take the wisdom of Solomon to understand why the still imprisoned animal rights advocates should be freed, not next month, not next week, not tomorrow, but today. Anything less than this will result in a permanent scar on the integrity of the history of the Austrian people.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Regan
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy & Religion
North Carolina State University
Box 8103
Raleigh, NC 27695-8103
Tel: 919-513-1333
http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/exhibits/regan/
http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/animalrights/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADhNch30Img


Source: Tom Regan
Author: Tom Regan


Date: 2008-07-09

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Tom Regan: Attaques autrichiennes contre les droits humains (fr)

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Tom Regan: attacco ai diritti umani in Austria (it)

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Tom Regan: Áustria viola direitos humanos (pt)

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