09/12/07 Antun Brkic Goes Unpunished!

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Animal Friends informs the Croatian public on the epilogue of the so-called "Beagle Affair"

Two years and two months have passed since the "Beagle affair," when Animal Friends saved 32 dogs from inevitable death at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which they succeeded with the help of other associations, the citizens of Zagreb, and the Croatian media.

Let us summarize the events: Slobodan Vukicevic imported 32 beagles from Italy to Croatia for experimentation purposes. The dogs came from the Green Hill breeding plant and arrived at the Department of Surgery, Orthopaedics, and Ophthalmology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine on June 30, 2005. Having received an anonymous report and some shocking materials on the suffering of dogs at the Faculty, Animal Friends alarmed the Croatian public on July 14, 2005. Despite the quarantine obligation, vivisector Antun Brkic and his collaborators arbitrarily decided to carry out experiments of bone fracturing that involved 22 beagles. It was done despite the fact that his so-called scientific project had not been approved and that similar experiments had already been done. With the unconditioned support of both the public and the media, Animal Friends organized a number of protests, watched the clinic day and night, and negotiated with the faculty. Thus, they managed to prevent the further suffering of dogs and handed over the visibly traumatized and neglected beagles to their adoptive homes on July 21, 2005.

Dissatisfied with the fact that the bone-breaker remained at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, working with animals and teaching, Animal Friends organized a protest on November 26, 2005 in front of the building where Antun Brkic lives, which is located in the city district of Dugave. Several days before the event, the police warned Animal Friends that a number of persons might appear with the intention of obstructing the peaceful protest. But despite all offences and provocations, the activists retained their peace until the end and the protest ended without incidents.

Subsequently, Brkic pressed charges against the president of Animal Friends, Luka Oman, for the statement that the police had warned the activists about the possible presence of "anti-protestants" and for disturbing the public, even though the protest was duly registered. The District Attorney's Office and later also the District Court dropped the charges as unfounded, with the explanation that no offence could be established, but Brkic's lawyer managed to prolong the process by filing a complaint, in which he claimed that a technical error had occurred when making the decision of rejecting his charges.

And while the court is still occupied with Brkic's charges and complaints, the Zagreb Association of Animal Welfare Organizations (SUZA), which filed charges against Brkic for the crime of torturing animals, received a letter from the District Attorney's Office in Zagreb, in which all charges against the vivisector are dropped as unfounded.

The "Beagle Affair" is not an isolated case of this "legal state" turning its back on animal welfare. There are numerous other cases of abused animals every day in which the perpetrators pass unpunished because of the inert and disinterested judicial institutions. Animals also lack professional legal representation in court, since state attorneys are showing an utter lack of interest for getting involved in cases where the victims are animals.

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