New Russian President Rejects Animal Protection Bill

Russia’s Acting President,
Vladimir Putin, was in office less than a week when on January 6 he vetoed
an bill passed by the Russian Duma and the Russian Federation Council
designed by its advocates to prevent animal cruelty. The bill would have
made it illegal to use certain species of animal for food and fur, banned
the harming of animals in the making of films and television programs,
and mandated sterilization/contraception for pets according to a press
release from the Human Society of the United States.

What ultimately killed the
bill, however, were provisions which the Russian fur industry feared would
put a halt to the hunting of seals for furs. Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency
quoted spokespersons for the governors of Russia’s Arkhangelsk region
as urging rejection of the bill to protect that area’s fur industry. “More
than a thousand people involved in the hunting and skinning of seals will
lose their jobs in villages in the Arkhangelsk region,” the spokeswoman
said. “Big losses will be experienced in the fur industry and this may
lead to a mass exodus from the northern polar areas.”

According to Reuters, furs
are relatively common in Russia where the winters are extremely cold.
In the northern regions, for example, temperatures can fall below minus
30 degrees centigrade.

In an odd postscript to Putin’s
veto, the acting president sent a gushing email to animal rights activist
Brigitte Bardot who had urged Russia to pas the bill. No word of a response
from Bardot who has a habit to making extremely disparaging, often ethnocentric
comments about nations that fail to follow her policy recommendations.

It will be interesting to see
how well the animal rights movement fares outside of Western nations.
In the United States and Europe, the animal rights movement tries to piggyback
on highly influential and, in some cases, centuries old philosophical
movements interested in rights issues. Whether or not the animal rights
argument will be able to find a similar cache outside of the industrial
West remains to be seen.


Arctic leaders oppose Russian animal rights bill. Reuters, December 23,

No revolution for Russia’s animals. Humane Society of the United States
press release, January 7, 2000.

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