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SOCHI, February 28. /TASS/. The Russian President’s special envoy for transport and the environment, Sergey Ivanov, has called for a ban on keeping wild animals as house pets and stricter safety guidelines for so-called petting zoos.
In an interview with TASS during the Russian Investment Forum he drew attention to the fact that "in big cities, animals that should never live with humans live in citizens’ houses and apartments."
"By the way, we’ve stumbled across the carcasses of crocodiles, lions, leopards at garbage dumps, everything is there. Lynxes live on the balconies. This is cruelty, barbarity, and savagery, and it must be banned," Ivanov contended.
According to his opinion, "wild animals should live in decent zoos or in rehabilitation centers and, of course, outside the city." "And besides, I think animals should live in the wild," the envoy added. Additionally, Ivanov is a chairman of the supervisory council of the independent non-profit organization "Far Eastern Leopards".
"We must closely scrutinize these so-called petting and mobile zoos, because violations and animal abuse are rampant there," Ivanov asserted. In addition, he lobbies for "a total ban on earning money, taking pictures of tourists with wild animals". The Kremlin envoy condemned this as "cruelty and barbarism as well."
The Kremlin envoy hopes that the State Duma (lower house) will adopt an animal cruelty law, strengthening liability for such activities. "The public demands it. I can only thank the media, when it displays people’s reckless actions. This sort of thing should be punished," he emphasized.