Dr. Martin Balluch is an Austrian physicist and philosopher who has dedicated more than three decades to animal-people rights activism. He co-founded the Austrian Vegan Society and has served as chairman of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories (VGT) since 2002. Dr. Balluch authored several books which reflect his life philosophy and experiences of speaking up for the voiceless animal-people. Today, we are privileged to have Dr. Balluch with us to share his story. He begins by introducing some of the accomplishments of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories.“I think we have actually been able to set a few milestones in the development towards more respectful relations with animals, and definitely something we see as animal liberation, meaning an equal coexistence between humans and animals. This includes the world’s first fur farm ban in 1998. There are now, in Europe alone, 20 countries that have already banned fur farms and, at the moment, there is a European citizens’ initiative aiming for a fur farm ban in the entire EU, plus an import ban of these furs. Another example is the ban on keeping wild animals in circuses.”Notably, Dr. Balluch convinced the Austrian parliament to include a clause about animal-people welfare in the nation’s constitution, which states: “The state protects the life and well-being of animals in its responsibility for them as fellows of mankind.” Additionally, he contributed to the establishment of animal-people solicitors in each province, who have the authority to initiate legal actions on behalf of our animal co-citizens.Dr. Balluch tells us the background to his book “Animal Rights Activist. Public Enemy,” about when armed officers raided his home. “I must say, we were treated very brutally. But I can only appeal to the young people not to let themselves be intimidated, and not to be as naive as we were. You have to expect something like that, but at the same time, you must not lose the courage to change something, because it is simply necessary in society. We can’t stand by and let those who have always been in power simply carry on as before, because then we would simply hit a wall.”Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan): “Thankfully present Dr. Martin Balluch the Shining World Compassion Award, for your dedicated and courageous endeavors to protect our animal friends, in God’s Grace. With sincere gratitude and high praises for your noble work, may you always be safeguarded in Divine Love and Blessings.