Nationalist Russian lawmaker advocates dedicated agency for protecting animal rights
“At current moment, there are more and more cases of cruel treatment of animals registered in the Russian Federation. State Duma members receive hundreds of letters from voters demanding to toughen the control on observation of animal rights,” MP Vasily Vlasov wrote in a letter to Deputy PM Aleksey Gordeyev, as quoted by RIA Novosti.
“I personally see it as necessary to create a separate agency within the Federal Service for Veterinarian and Sanitary Control that would develop laws for maximum possible protection of animal rights,” the MP added.
Vlasov also referred to several recent incidents in which the cruel treatment of animals, often filmed and posted on the internet, had caused condemnation all over the country and “inspired the ideas that the problem should be solved in a complex manner.”
“In most countries of the world the ideas of humanism have transgressed the relations between humans only. The priority of ecological issues in economic activities, observation of animal rights, clean fuel and industry – this is the road the progressive humanity seeks to take,” his letter stated.
In Russia, tormenting or cruelly killing animals out of hooliganism or for profit is punishable with heavy fines or up to three years in prison. The same action advertised by means of mass media or the internet can carry a penalty of up to five years behind bars.
Russian lawmakers have already attempted to bring the issue of animal rights to public attention. In early 2015, MP Oleg Lebedev of the Communist Party drafted a bill ordering an increase in the minimum and maximum punishment for cruel treatment of animals, explaining that his action was prompted by numerous requests from Russian animal rights NGOs.
However, the public response to the initiative was relatively mild due to a sad coincidence. Shortly before Lebedev presented his legislative plan, a pack of stray dogs mauled a nine-year-old boy to death in the city of Chita, Siberia. After this, several lawmakers and politicians declared that stray dogs should be exterminated and the public should pay less attention to animal rights advocates and their campaigns.
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