Sunday, July 4, 2021

Dictatorships Russia and China bonded by animal cruelty and belligerence

China is certainly a dictatorship. Russia is, in my view, a dictatorship dressed up as a democracy. China has no genuine animal protection laws. There is mass animal cruelty. There is change afoot because there are people in China who want to see change and animals protected. But for such a large country to have no overarching animal protection law is a scandal and it surprises me that they are not made pariahs internationally.

Dictatorships Russia and China bonded by animal cruelty
 Dictatorships Russia and China bonded by animal cruelty. The circus lions of Russia where they are exploited and kept under deplorable conditions and trained cruelly. Image: see credit bottom left.

Russia lives in the past. My research indicates that in 2010 there were no federal laws in Russia to protect animals. In 2014, Russia for the first time adopted an overarching animal welfare act Federal Law Number 498 but it seems to be defective and I would argue poorly enforced. There is mass fur farming which is inherently cruel and what prompted this post was the desire by Russia to hang onto the past and continue to use animals in circuses.

Below is a list of countries which have passed bans on the use of wild animals in circuses according to Stop Circus 

  • Austria
  • Bolivia 
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  • Colombia 
  • Costa Rica 
  • Croatia Cyprus 
  • El Salvador
  • England 
  • Estonia 
  • Greece 
  • Guatemala 
  • Ireland 
  • Israel 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Macedonia 
  • Malta 
  • Mexico 
  • The Netherlands 
  • Paraguay 
  • Peru 
  • Romania 
  • Scotland 
  • Serbia 
  • Singapore 
  • Slovakia 
  • Slovenia

There is a growing movement in Russia to ban the exploitation of animals in circuses but they think their circuses are the best. There is a long tradition. The state-run company Rosgostsirk which, as I understand it, organises 38 static and five travelling services across the country received 1.3 billion rubles in state aid. The organisers of the circuses regard animal advocates as nutcases spreading myths. Their attitude is very similar to sport and trophy hunters who also like to entertain themselves with cruelty to animals.

My focus on circus animals in Russia was prompted by a story in the Mail Online in which the Saratov circus was opening after a Covid lockdown. They were very proud of their reopening but a vicious fight broke out between lions which scared the spectators. Some of them ran for the exit. The trainers gained control with sticks but the whole thing was unedifying and unpleasant. 

It highlighted the need for change. Lions and tigers in zoos are an outdated concept. The world has moved on. Russia refuses to move on which is why they are a pretty poor country with perhaps the biggest difference between the rich and the poor on the planet.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

The video above from the Mail Online shows the scuffle or fight that broke out between the lions. It is sad to see because these lions are kept in deplorable conditions, constantly caged up and moved from pillar to post. Everybody knows it is inherently cruel to do this to lions and tigers but the Russians don't seem to see it that way. 

They considered the reopening of the circus as a "splendid momentous event". One trainer Vladislav Goncharov admitted that many countries had banned live animal performances but he said that Russia will continue to have them because children come to the circus primarily to see animals and clowns. He said "We will support and popularise it."

Cruelty is pretty well essential if you're going to train circus animals. It is inherent in the process. It is so demeaning to see these magnificent lions treated like this. As one animal rights group spokesperson, Irina Novozhilova, said, "No circus conditions will be humane for one simple reason. Training goes hand-in-hand with cruelty. Circuses are always cruel beyond limits. And circuses with animals should be banned."

Russia and China need to wake up on animal rights and welfare. Their outdated attitude to animal welfare damages them internationally. It brands them as insensitive thugs. It is time for change in these dictatorships.

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