Incredibly, the court demands from VGT up to the final judgment in the injunction suit to no longer associate the SPAR company with pig suffering
Unfortunately, this is now the norm in Austria. As soon as a company feels criticized by civil society, it reacts with one SLAPP suit with very high litigation to deter criticism through intimidation. In the case of SPAR against the VGT, the lawyer for the retail giant argues that the VGT must be seen as an economic competitor through its criticism primarily of SPAR, because it does not explicitly but indirectly ask consumers to shop at other supermarkets. Therefore, the criticism of the VGT must be judged as unfair advertising according to the federal law against unfair competition.
The action for injunctive relief, valued at around € 62.500, is still pending, for the provisional proceedings, valued at € 47.500 - so a total of € 110.000! – there is a non-final judgment in the first instance. This forces the VGT to no longer associate SPAR with pig suffering until the end of the proceedings. In addition, the SPAR logo may no longer be used in a satirical form. Should the VGT lose both lawsuits in the last instance, the club could face more than € 1 in costs!
VGT Chairman DDr. Martin Balluch is outraged:
The lawsuit against the VGT is in itself more than questionable in terms of democratic politics. SPAR as a retail giant will probably endure a bit of criticism from an animal welfare NGO. But for a democracy it is unbearable that the court seriously tells us against whom we can demonstrate and what we can criticize! And the argument is that we should be seen as a kind of competitor supermarket. If we don't ultimately win this case across the board, protest groups will no longer dare to criticize big companies. Who has €100.000 on the side for a lawsuit? But it is obvious: anyone who sells meat from pigs on fully slatted floors must also be held responsible for what this floor means for the pigs. You shouldn't be able to express that in a striking way in the context of a protest?!
Photo / Video: Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.