Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Austria
German & Austrian hunt sabs join forces in a successful operation

German and Austrian animal rights activists joined forces against hunters on Saturday, 18 November, 2006, successfully deterring the hunters from claiming the lives of dozens of hares, pheasants, and other woodland animals.

A hunter carries the only hare to have been shot in Saturday's hunt. The hare, injured, but not killed, was recovered by an activist, only to be forcefully taken out of his hands and beaten to death by hunters. The body was then snatched away from the hunter and given a proper burial in the woods.

The hunt, which had been scheduled to take place in the border area between Austria and Germany, on the German side of the border (between Passau and Braunau), included 30 shooters and 40 beaters to startle the animals from their hiding places. Hunt saboteurs from Austria and Germany met in the very early hours of the morning and hid in the woods to await the hunters, who began the hunt at 8 am.

Activists had come prepared with video cameras and umbrellas, which they opened and placed just in front of the guns to obscure the shooters' line of vision and prevent them from shooting. The first group of shooters called off their shoot after a while and tried calling in police. However, as there were not enough officers to respond, no police arrived and a second group of hunters attempted a new shoot in a different area.

Once again, activists deployed their umbrellas. According to the activists, this continued throughout the day, with only two pheasants and one hare being killed. At one point, the hare's body was snatched away by one activist and buried in the woods, leaving the agitated hunters with only two 'trophies'.

Activists report that the hunt party became increasingly frustrated and aggressive as the day went on, carelessly shooting in the direction of other hunters in desperate attempts to get a kill, and even going so far as to threaten activists. One activist stated, "Guns were pointed directly at a sab's head from 1 m distance."

When German police finally arrived on the scene, the Austrian group had managed to escape. German law prohibits hunt sabbing and classifies trespassing as a criminal offence. German activists were forced to show identification and some were arrested. They most likely will face charges and large fines if convicted. Although police searched the woods and surrounding areas for hours, none of the Austrian activists were found and the film footage made it safely out of the area.

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