This month Russians have received permission to hunt in an archaic way with crossbows and bows. The “licence to kill” was signed by President Vladimir Putin, who is a hunter himself, explaining it as a part of “national tradition“. The proponents of archery method of hunting underlined that it will allow many more people to join two million strong ranks of Russian hunters. Among critics of the bow hunting are not only animal welfare defenders, veterinarians, ecologists, and humanists, who denounce it as barbarism, but also economists, who underline that the permission of archaic forms of hunting indicates profound malaise of government, unable to ensure modern urban lifestyle for majority of Russians, providing them with affordable, safe, sanitary controlled food, replacing it by game meats, representing health risks.
Allowing primitive methods of hunting, and engaging broader public into providing themselves with game meat, is an indirect recognition of food shortage, especially in Siberia, where lately a problem of hungry children falling unconscious in schools occurred. “..And if you are not lucky in hunting with bows, you have to eat grass” Russian social networks react.
This year children’s ombudsman of Kuzbass said that pupils in schools in Kemerovo (West Siberia) region suffered hungry faints, because parents do not have means for breakfast at home, and even less so to give them 50 rubles (EUR 0,7) to pay for school meals.
Allowing hunting with crossbows and bows upon the licence and a permit and registration of weapons, the new law will have “the most positive impact on the development of the entire hunting industry in Russia, as well as on the image of Russia as a great hunting power”, according to opinion of Russian State Duma.
Earlier, Vladimir Lebedev, deputy chairman of the Committee of the Federation Council on Agriculture and Food Policy, said that Russians have tens of thousands of such weapons, so its legalization for hunting will be useful for amateur hunters.
The number of hunters in Russia has almost doubled in recent years, but unfortunately the scale of action of the poachers has also multiplied. Local residents in Siberia complain, that poaching have reached a level of organised industry: some shoot, others transport, skin killed animals to deliver of skilled salesman of game meat. (Tweet below: ad of Siberian bear meat).
Siberian veterinarians warn of the danger of infection of people from game meats that have not passed sanitary control: the consequences can be devastating for human health, even lethal if not timely diagnosed. A significant proportion of bear meat is unsuitable for consumption, since the animals are vehicles of a number of diseases dangerous for humans, namely Trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by roundworms. Wild bore, moose, and especially reindeer are the most frequent vehicles of Cysticercosis, fatal to human brain as a frequent site of localization, among other consequences is liver failure.
In Siberia game meat is delivered, in particular, to cafes on the highways, where sanitary inspections are rare. In most places it is unclear if meat has passed sanitary control and the procedures required by food safety standard.
Among exotic meats wolf flesh is among most expensive in Russia, amounting to 30 euro/kg (RUB2000). Next to bear consumption, it gains popularity under Chinese influences in Siberia, where lately more cases of dog consumption have been reported. There is also a rapidly growing black market of exporting parts of wild life to China for transitional medicine.
Across the European Union the crossbows for hunting is prohibited as barbarism. Having an impact of more than 40 kg, in case of a hunting accident, the damages to human body are incompatible with life, causing internal bleeding. Even in countries where bows are allowed for hunting, crossbows are strictly prohibited.
The bow hunting however is allowed locally in some countries as Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and Slovenia practice restricted archery, Estonia also allows bow hunting, but for a small game.
Russian animal rights group VITA launched a champagne to veto the law, insisting that archery as hunting method is degrading to human beings, reversing the development of humankind, devastating to nature, and atrocious to animals.