“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France

Russia has just signed a new law in a bid to improve animal welfare across the country.

According to the latest news in The Moscow Times, the new law that is titled “On Responsible Treatment of Animals and on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” was approved and signed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The law was first sent to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma back in 2018; it took legislators eight years to finalize the law. The new law is guided by the “principles of responsible, ethical and humane treatment of animals.’

It also gives full details of rights and responsibilities of federal, regional and municipal authorities on the issue of pet ownership.

The new law clearly bans all kinds of petting zoos in shopping centres, housing animals in bars/restaurants, animal cafes and animal fights, and most importantly killing of stray dogs and cats.

The law goes on to establish rules for pet owners, stating that they have to take good care of their companions. Also it bans the propaganda of cruel treatment of animals, and underlines requirements for pet ownership and service animals, as well as for their use in cultural and entertaining events.

It also bans the keeping of all types of exotic animals in homes and apartments — In recent years, wild animals such as ostriches and camels were set free into the wild. Thus, all animals “Without a license” will result in the animal being seized by the state which will result in making it much harder for “semi-legal” circuses to operate.

Bans and Restrictions on ‘Dangerous’ Dog Breeds

Although the new act sets a various amount of new protections for animals in Russia, it’s been heavily criticized for adding a law that clearly states the requirement for pet owners to muzzle “potentially dangerous” dog breeds. However, this part of the law has not been finalized and will be defined at a later date. In addition, designated locations are highlighted for dog-walking.

Senator Andrei Klishas told Kommersant:

“When people go out on the streets to walk their dogs, they will become outlaws because this new law is going to create a legal chaos.”

The Head of animal rights in Russia Mr Vital told BBC that the law was too simple and only covered one percent of what the organisation would have liked to see and hoped to see more improvements within the law.

While the new law provides protection to domestic and some wild animals that are currently being kept by pet owners, the Russian Government explained that it does not cover wildlife, all types of fish farms, hunting, or the use of farm and lab animals – for these categories there would be new laws made in the nearby future.

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