Russia: protests against changes to welfare standards

13-12-2022 | |
According to Sergey Sereda, president of the Russian association of practitioners of veterinary medicine, cattle are often not treated correctly. "Everything comes down to money, it's easier for people to use cheap but cruel methods than to pay more." Photo: Canva
According to Sergey Sereda, president of the Russian association of practitioners of veterinary medicine, cattle are often not treated correctly. "Everything comes down to money, it's easier for people to use cheap but cruel methods than to pay more." Photo: Canva

A group of Russian animal rights activists have filed a letter to the Russian Agricultural Ministry calling for a revision of the new veterinary rules, allowing brutal livestock slaughter, including in the dairy industry.

New rules regulating livestock slaughter came into force on 1 September 2022, which stipulates, among other things, that slaughter should be carried out using ‘humane methods’. The original version of the rules detailed that humane methods include those that do not involve causing stress to the animals. However, in last-minute amendments, this has been removed. The Ministry explained that this was done in order to “reduce costs businesses have to bear”.

Clarification

“The current rules, in principle, do not provide in practice a more humane treatment of animals during slaughter and require clarification,” animal rights group, Voice for Animals, said in the appeal to the Ministry, stressing that in some segments, this could improve product quality.

“It remains unclear according to what criteria one or another method of slaughter should be classified as humane or stressful. This means that livestock farmers can still kill animals at their discretion, regardless of the degree of their suffering,” the activists said.

The animal rights organisation proposed that the rules must be detailed to ensure that slaughter takes place “quickly, painlessly and the animal fully loses consciousness and sensitivity before the beginning of the slaughter procedure and remains unconscious until death”.

The authors of the appeal claimed that their proposal had been backed by the Animal Welfare Association.

“The modern consumer in Russia strives for responsible consumption. When choosing products of animal origin, they increasingly pay attention to the conditions of animals being raised and kept in agricultural enterprises and also slaughter methods. The livestock industry should take a more of responsible approach to ensure animal welfare, make it an integral part of the agricultural policy of our country,” commented Yulia Trefilova, PhD, head of the government relations department at the Animal Welfare Association.

Cruel methods

According to Sergey Sereda, president of the Russian association of practitioners of veterinary medicine, cattle are often not treated correctly. “Everything comes down to money – it’s easier for people to use cheap but cruel methods than to pay more,” Sereda said.

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