The State Duma lower house of parliament passed in the final third reading the law on hunting enclosures which will allow businesses to legally offer to shoot animals in the fenced areas. The law was drafted by a group of deputies, who are United Russia party members -- Nikolai Nikolayev, chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations, Maxim Shablykin, a member of this committee, Vladislav Reznik, a member of the Committee on Budget and Taxes, and Nikolai Valuyev, first deputy chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Environmental Protection.
Amendments to the Law On Hunting and Conservation of Hunting Resources and the Wildlife Protection Law were proposed to the State Duma back in the spring of last year. That initiative caused intensive discussions and was opposed by animal rights activists who called it sadist. More than 200,000 people signed a petition on the Change.org website against the legalization of free hunting. But all public objections were not taken into account.
As Nikolayev explained, the bill gives a start to the development of a new industry of hunting. According to him, the innovations will significantly reduce the negative impact on wildlife as well as even contribute to restoration of the populations of wild animals.
However, it was not enough to convince Nikolayev’s colleagues from opposition parties.
According to Oleg Lebedev (the Communist Party of the Russian Federation), in fact, instead of, for example, traditional hunting, the bill offers an unnatural entertainment aimed at killing animals for entertainment. Lebedev recalled that the State Duma of the seventh convocation passed three bills that are aimed at protecting animals from flayers, poachers and contact hunting dog trainings. The amendments proposed by the United Russia party reverse all the gains.
Lebedev said that voters were recommending to stay away from supporting the bill.
Oleg Shein (A Just Russia faction) agreed with him. According to Shein, this law seems to have been drafted for the people who like to kill defenseless animals when the latter have nowhere to hide. Shein believes that the law will return back to the State Duma and be reversed in the not so distant future.
A similar opinion was expressed by Andrei Andreychenko (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia). In his view, it is nonsense that an animal can hide somewhere in semi-free conditions. And it is likewise inappropriate to talk about some kind of sport as regards this law. After all, there is supposed to be no stalking and chasing. "So there is no talking about any chances of an animal to survive. It looks more like slaughtering or killing an animal," said Andreychenko.
Andreychenko believes that conceivably, prostitution or activities of hired assassins may be also legalized proceeding from this logic. In his judgment, the arguments offered in support of this law, conceal the main idea: it is just a source of income for someone.
It is noteworthy, however, that the underlying concept of the amendments was not a secret.
Valuyev who was one of the bill’s initiators, said that the law pursues primarily the economical objectives. As he explained, in doing so, hunters are given a good opportunity to improve their financial standing. In other words, the way this goal will be achieved is not so important.
In accordance with the law, companies that are planning to maintain and breed animals, including for hunting purposes, will have to obtain permits and comply with the requirements of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Hunters will have to get special permits.
The standard rules will not apply to hunting enclosures, though. Particularly, they will have restrictions in the form of shooting quotas. Seasonal prohibitions will not be taken into account either.
The website of the State Duma informs that the minimum area for animal hunting will be at least 50 ha. On this territory, owners of hunting businesses will be able to let the animals out and offer them as “hunting resources” to those wishing to shoot them.