Sealers fight new Russian humane law

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2000:

MOSCOW––Russian president Boris Yeltzin, 68, who resigned on New Year’s Day, apparently left to his successor Valdimir Putin, 47, the fate of a 22-page animal protection act approved 273-1 on December 1 by the State Duma (parliament).

Jen Tracy of the St. Petersburg Times reported on December 28 that the governors of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk had appealed to Yeltzin to veto the bill because it would have prohibited sealing.

The anti-sealing clause was apparently included in the bill mainly to protect the small Nerpa seal of landlocked Lake Baikal. Hunters have killed 5,000 to 6,000 Nerpa seals per year since 1992, and the seals are reportedly in a steep population decline.

Little is known of Putin’s views about animals. His wife and two daughters keep a pet poodle.

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