Sunday, February 26, 2017

Russia’s Failure to Crack Down on Cruelty to Animals Opens Way to Cruelty to People, Eidman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 26 – Leo Tolstoy famously observed that “a society which treats animals badly will always be poor and criminal.”  Two events this month and the reaction of Russians to them suggest that Russia is just such a society and that the mistreatment of animals both reflects and leads to more mistreatment of human beings, Igor Eidman says.

            On February 10, Russian media reported that a woman in the Altai had thrown her child into the snow where he was saved only by a homeless dog who kept him warm until others could rescue him, and then on February 19, Daghestanis began killing dogs in massive numbers after a rapist and murderer used dogs to hide his crime (

                With regard to the first, the Russian commentator says, what was striking is that media outlets focused only on the mother and not on the hero dog who apparently “remains on the streets, homeless and unneeded by anyone. Where she is today, no one can say,” yet another indication that in today’s Russia no action no matter how sad or horrific will surprise anyone.

            With regard to the second, Eidman continues, it has become obvious that the Daghestani police and the Daghestani population was all too willing to accept the version of events that dogs and not a man had killed the young girl. Residents thus went on a killing spree against homeless animals.

            Comparing these two cases, he says, shows that “in Daghestan a blood libel turned out to be sufficient to awaken people and lead them to kill innocent dogs,” and that in the Altai, despite evidence of the heroism of the dog, “no one was found who would provide a home for even this one dog.”

            How easy in Russia it turns out to be to organize mass murders (“in this case, ‘only’ of dogs”) and “how difficult to awaken in them mercy” for a homeless dog “who saved a child from certain death!”

            Tragically, these are only two cases of animal cruelty in a country where every year there are hundreds of thousands of them.  A few awake the sympathies of some and the animals are saved from death; but all too often, Eidman says, they end in disaster and no one or at least not Russian officials seems to care.

            Animal rights activists have long sought the adoption of a federal law that would protect dogs, cats and other animals from mistreatment and death, “justly pointing out that if those who are cruel to animals remain unpunished, [they likely] will not stop at the murder of animals” but will move on to human beings.”

            But there seems little chance of such a manifestation of mercy in a country where people are “zombified” by television into thinking that killing people in Ukraine or in Syria is the right and proper thing to do, Eidman says.  Given that, the future not only of the dogs and cats of Russia but of the Russian people is anything but promising.

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