New Russian Laws on Animal Welfare give Activists Hope

One of the biggest frustrations we have as activists is that Animal Welfare Laws take endless amounts of time to be introduced. Even when they are put forward in draft form it can take years for them to be passed. We have seen this over and over again in South Korea and of course in China. Then we have the disheartening news for example in Bali and Philippines that even though laws are in place dog eating and animal cruelty continues.

Despite all of this we push forward for change working with grassroots activists and at the highest levels in Government and the UN. We just can not give up.

News therefore that countries like Russia have finally passed laws that were 8 years in the making gives us some hope.Russia has passed new legislation in a bid to improve animal welfare across the nation.

The Moscow Times reports that the bill, called “On Responsible Treatment of Animals and on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation,” was signed into law by Vladimir Putin.

It bans petting zoos in malls, animal cafes, animal fights, housing animals in bars and restaurants, and the killing of stray cats and dogs. The Kremlin states that the new law is guided by the “principles of humanity.” Originally introduced in 2010, it took legislators eight years to finalise the act.

The law also mandates that pet parents take good care of their companion animals. It also bans keeping exotic animals in homes and apartments. Wild animals such as camels and ostriches have been abandoned in the wild in recent years. Keeping wild animals “without a license” will result in the animal being seized by the state. The hope is that ‘semi legal ‘ circuses will find it harder to operate.

The killing of stray cats and dogs has become increasingly common in Russian cities over the past few years. The new law mandates that all strays are to be captured, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and released.

Will this really be the end of animal cruelty in Russia ? Only time will tell but it certainly gives us hope that if change can happen under the regime of Putin if our voices get louder in Asia dogs and cats and indeed all animals can have a chance for a better life.