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VITA ANIMAL RIGHTS NEWS FROM RUSSIA
RUSSIA: HISTORICAL BREAKTHROUGH FOR LABORATORY ANIMALS
TWO ACADEMIES STOP ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS
August-December 2005

Welcome! In this issue:

- two Russian schools stop with animal experiments

- victory in the vet prosecution scandal

- furriers' feast messed up

- children reject furs

- more on animal rights in the Russian media

- animal rights feast in Moscow

- ethical code for Russian vets

- animal rights course in Moscow schools

- other news

- appeal to our readers

VITA WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY AND COMPASSIONATE 2006!

And here is our latest news:

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS

FIRST IN RUSSIA: TWO ACADEMIES QUIT EXPERIMENTING ON ANIMALS

In October 2005 St. Peterburg veterinary academy, pharmacology department, signed a contract with InterNICHE www.interniche.org to replace animal experiments by humane alternatives. Agriculture academy in the town of Velikiye Luki replaced animal experiments with humane alternatives on the department of farm animal breeding technology.

This is a historical improvement for the country. Russian schools freely experiment on vast amounts of lab animals, often without anaesthetics. InterNICHE's and VITA's two years of active campaigning against animal experiments in Russia resulted in this revolutionary step forward in St.Peterburgh and Velikiye Luki.

VITA and InterNICHE informed the media. The result was outstanding: a lot of excellent pro-animal rights media casts appeared on TV, radio and in the written media. It seems many people in the country are absolutely overwhelmed by the news.

FURTHER PROMOTION OF HUMANE EDUCATION

Also in October VITA director and InterNICHE national contact in Russia Elena Maroueva, InterNICHE coordinator Nick Jukes and other activists made a two week tour around universities and academies in several Russian cities. Their goal was to promote alternatives to animal experiments.

VITA and InterNICHE cordially thank IAAPEA (www.iaapea.org) for sponsoring a computer class for use of alternatives in St.Peterburgh academy, and covering other project costs. VITA also thanks FFVFF (www.ffvff.ch) for partly covering the campaign expenses.

 

PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW WHY ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS ARE EVIL,
AND WHICH ALTERNATIVES THERE ARE

Only the awareness of the general public will bring a large-scale change - believe VITA and InterNICHE.

On October 17 and 25 the organisations held two press-conferences on humane alternatives to animal experiments in Moscow and St.Petersburg. The participants demonstrated alternatives, talked about their advantages, and explained why animal experiments are not morally acceptable.

The events were very successful and received excellent media coverage.
 


VITA CELEBRATES VICTORY IN VET PROSECUTION SCANDAL

In August and October legal proceedings against four vets were finalized. Russian drug enforcement agency (DEA) persecuted the vets for the use of the officially allowed (!) medical drug Lauraboline. However the court found no corpus delicti in DEA's accusations.

Also, directors of the firm "Intervet" were acquitted in August. Intervet imports Lauraboline to Russia.

"Hands away from vets!" - called the placards at VITA's action on October 3. 30 activists protested against absurd vet prosecutions at the Krasnopresnenskiy court of justice in Jaroslavl, a small town four hours to the north-east from Moscow.

The ridiculous vet persecutions in the Lauraboline crisis are now stopped. This is a major victory for VITA and the lawyer Evgeny Chernousov. VITA had campaigned for the acquittal of the innocent people from June 2005. Also, anabolic steroid Lauraboline is absolutely essential for the veterinary medicine. Thus this is a fantastic victory for the animals.

Throughout the summer, September and October VITA held actions, press-conferences, took part in numerous media casts on the problem. VITA also sent appeals to president Putin, prime-minister Fradkov, human rights representative in the government Lukin, the chairman of the State Duma Sliska, and to the chairman of the Supreme Court Ponomaryov.

For more info on Ketamine and Lauraboline crisis see VITA's previous newsletters on www.vita.org.ru

FURS: FURRIERS' FEAST MESSED UP

September 13: "Killing is not art!" - forcefully declaimed the 40 participants of a major anti-fur action near the Pushkin Arts Museum in the centre of Moscow. Powerful and alarming drum-roll accompanied the scansion.

On September 13 furriers opened a luxurious fur exhibition in the museum. They invited celebrities and media to attend the opening ceremony.

However animal advocates came instead. They held anti-fur placards and photos revealing cruelties of fur production. Animal activists gave out anti-fur leaflets to furriers' guests. They put an artificial fur coat with bloody spots and wording "Fur is murder" at the entrance to the museum. Followed by loud drumming, every visitor had to step over the coat.

As a result many celebrities changed their mind and decided not to visit the exhibition. Journalists reported on the anti-fur action instead of the exhibition. Many pro-animal rights reports appeared in the media.

In the action participated numerous Moscow animal rights and ecological organisations.



EXHIBITION OF ANTI-FUR AND OTHER DRAWINGS AND POSTERS

Also on September 13 VITA and her colleagues from five other organisations opened a five day exhibition-competition "Stars protect animals" in Moscow. On show were hundreds of children arts works to protect animals and environment. Most were the submissions to VITA and FUR FREE ALLIANCE www.infurmation.org anti-fur competitions.

During the opening ceremony VITA showed the media her new film "Hamburger as it is". Sponsored by Compassion in World Farming (www.ciwf.org) and created by VITA, the film reveals the plight of farm animals.

The jury of the exhibition-competition consisted of Russian celebrities. On September 19 the jury announced and rewarded the winners of the competition. The event was covered in the media.



BLOODY MASTERPIECES - RUSSIA'S SHAME!

- under this motto VITA held an anti-fur action in Moscow on October 1. The action was timed to the opening of the international fur festival "Fur masterpieces" in Moscow. Sadly enough the Moscow government supported the festival.

Thirty VITA activists took part in the action. Some were wearing fake fur coats with bloody spots. Activists were holding a gigantic placard "Leave the animals their fur and leather!" Some animal advocates were declaiming "Stop the bloody industry!", while others spread anti-fur leaflets among passers-by.

VITA collected dozens of signatures under an open letter to the Moscow mayor Luzhkov to stop his support of barbaric traditions in Russia, and sent the letter to the mayor.

DESIGN AGAINST FUR (DAF)

Natalia Lazarshvili from Tbilisi, ex-Soviet republic of Georgia took the third place in the European region of the 2005 Design Against Fur competition. Two thousand students from all over the world submitted most impressive posters for the competition. The organiser of the competition is the FUR FREE ALLIANCE (FFA). VITA as a FFA's member organised the competition in Russia and several ex-Soviet republics.

On November 4 FFA awarded Natalia with 250 euro, and a trip to Rome. The international winner of the competition is Kristie Kinch from the USA. Our cordial congratulations to all the winners, and wishes of good luck to the 2006 DAF participants!

HIS LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A FUR COAT! - runs the text next to the image of a fox cub on new FFA and VITA scarves. The organisations rewarded all the 155 DAF participants from Russia, Georgia and several other ex-Soviet republics with the scarves.

Students have shared that people in the streets look a lot at their scarves: some astonished, some thoughtfully, some interrogatively.



VITA'S FUR FREE WAVE IN THE MEDIA

Russia is the land of furs. The only way to change this is to keep peacefully confronting people with the bloody truth behind fur production. This is why VITA has made work with the public the major tool in her anti-fur campaign. Media is our bridge to people.

Throughout September-December 2005 VITA co-organised, took part in, or gave interviews for eight TV- and three radio programmes on cruelties of fur production. Numerous articles appeared in the written media. This is a major success for the Russian animal rights movement.



MORE ON ANIMAL RIGHTS

IN THE RUSSIAN MEDIA

Of course VITA kept her intensive work with the media on other pro-animal rights subjects. Thus throughout August-December VITA took part in, gave interviews for, or helped creating numerous media casts on the following topics:

- alternatives to animal experiments

- furs

- humane solution of the stray overpopulation problem

- closing of Moscow mini shelters for strays

- cruelties towards strays

- killing of crows and pigeons for fun by some Muscovites

- Ketamine and Lauraboline crisis

- responsibility for maltreating an animal

- lack and necessity of an animal welfare law in Russia

- animal welfare bill in the Ukraine

- cruelties of intensive farming

- bird flu

- fois-gras production

- vegetarianism

- bear maltreatment in Siberia

- trade in animals

- entertainment businesses with wild animals

- professional negligence of some vets

- negligence and animal maltreatment in many zoos

- dolphin slaughter in Japan


VEGETARIANISM, INTENSIVE FARMING

WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF BIRD FLU!

- sang VITA's Konstantin Sabinin during a short theatre show within VITA's Moscow pro-vegetarianism action of October 28. An actor was wearing a cock costume and dancing together with Konstantin. Other participants of the action were distributing leaflets on vegetarianism among passers-by.

"Vegetarianism is a hundred per cent protection from bird flue!" - explained VITA in the leaflets. "Bird flu and other new dangerous animal diseases are a direct result of intensive animal and bird farming and slaughter."

On October 29 popular TV channel NTV broadcast a report on the action. VITA believes the programme has helped spread vegetarianism in Russia.


FACING TRUTH BEHIND INTENSIVE FARMING

CHILDREN BECOME MOST COMPASSIONATE

- prove the results of VITA's 2004-2005 competition for the best composition to protect farm animals. Children from 40 schools from Russia and ex-Soviet republics submitted most inspiring pieces of writing. Most compositions show children's deepest compassion towards animals.

VITA supplied the participating schools with educational printed materials on intensive farming, as well as with CIWF's and VITA's video "Hamburger as it is". Teachers held lessons with the use of these materials. Afterwards children shared their opinion in the compositions.

Most inspiring is the fact that also children of farmers and villagers submitted compositions full of deepest love and compassion towards animals. It is well known that Russian villagers and farmers slaughter animals at home, and without any form of anaesthetics. However VITA now believes there is hope for a change for their children.

The jury consisted of Russian celebrity vegetarians. In December VITA rewarded the 26 winners of the competition.


Buryonka's reminiscences impress the Writers' Bond

Russian Writers' Bond awarded the 12 year old competition participant Alexey Klementiev with its honourable diploma for the composition "Buryonka's reminiscences". On behalf of a cow Buryonka Alexey described the bitter destiny of the animal from the moment of birth till the slaughterhouse. The Writers' Bond will publish this and other compositions in its yearly magazine "Podsolnushek".


VITA'S COLOURFUL ANIMAL RIGHTS FEAST AND EXHIBITION

Indian dancing, presentation of VITA and CIWF film on vegetarianism "Hamburger as it is", and a short concert delighted the public during VITA's second animal rights feast on December 9. The feast was timed to the international animal rights day on December 10.

Vegan celebrities awarded the authors of the best anti-fur posters and drawings presented at the exhibition. VITA also named the winner of her competition among journalists for the best media cast on animal rights. Alexey Yaroshevskiy won the contest with his TV programme on vegan movement in Russia.

With this inspiring feast VITA opened her ten day long exhibition "Animal rights = human rights" in the All-Russian Exhibition Centre VVTS.

The picturesque exhibits included alternative materials to animal experiments, pro animal rights drawings, paintings, Design Against Fur posters, books and magazines.

The event was covered by the media.

VITA TACKLES INDIVIDUAL ANIMAL MALTREATMENT

CAT KILLER FOUND GUILTY

On December 16 Moscow Izmaylovskiy Court of Justice found Kuzina L.V. guilty of cat murder. She has to pay 7000 rubbles (226 euro) to the cat guardians.

In October 2005 Kuzina threw her neighbours' two month old kitten out of a window in the third floor of their apartment building. VITA and the cat guardians immediately launched a police complaint. The case was brought to the court.

VITA informed the media. Both Kuzina and the cat guardians are now going to appeal.

BIRD KILLINGS IN MOSCOW

Yaroslavskaya prosecutor's office in Moscow is investigating the case of crow and pigeon killings in the city. A group of bored weaponry lovers have been entertaining themselves by shooting birds in Moscow.

On September 29 the leading Russian TV channel NTV made a programme on this sadistic kind of "entertainment". VITA launched a complaint based on the images.

The case is being investigated. VITA widely informed the media of the case. Numerous media casts appeared as a result.


VISITORS OF A NIGHT CLUB REFUSED TO WALK ON RAT HEADS

Moscow night club "Zona" attracts visitors with white rats. The club keeps the animals behind a glass window in the floor next to the bar. Thus visitors are in fact walking on the rats behind the glass. The animals are utterly stressed.

In October several visitors complained to VITA. VITA launched a complaint at Simonovskaya prosecutor's office who is now investigating the case. VITA covered the scandalous affair in the media.


OTHER NEWS: CANADIANS SYMPATHIZE WITH RUSSIAN BEARS

August 18, Moscow: VITA, Canadian journalist and explorer Tim Harvy, and Russian explorer Julia Kudryavtseva held a press-conference "Canadian ecological expedition shocked by cruelty of Russians towards bears."

In June 2004 Harvy departed from Vancouver for a journey around the globe. He travels by bike, boat, on skis and on foot to promote ecology-friendly travelling. Harvy faced forest fires, sea- and snowstorms. None of those stopped the traveller.

In Siberia Harvy faced a real challenge. He saw skinny bear cubs living in small cages near restaurants to attract visitors. He learned that hunters kill the mothers, and sell the cubs to restaurants, cafes, and to the entertainment businesses. Harvy's two articles on the problem raised a wave of shock in Canada.

An animal welfare law in Russia would protect bears and other animals from such maltreatment. VITA and other organisations keep pressing the government to pass the law. At first Gosduma and the Federation Council passed the bill. However in 2000 at the final stage Mr Putin declined it.

In December Peter Davies, the head of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (www.wspa.org) appealed to Mr.Putin and to the chairman of the State Duma Mr.Sliska to pass an animal welfare law in Russia.

STRAY STERILISATION INSTEAD OF MASSACRE

On September 19 VITA learned about illegal shooting of strays in the Moscow district of Rostokino. VITA immediately called the journalists of the Russian leading national TV channel TVTS. The journalists were on time to witness the bloody dog massacre.

The local authorities are very well aware that stray shooting is forbidden in Moscow. Every district should sterilise its strays, and set the animals free. However Rostokino and other districts disregard the law, and shoot their strays. VITA also receives many complaints about stray massacre in different Russian cities and towns.

Two popular TV channels broadcast a wonderful pro-animal rights program based on the footage filmed on September 19. In the program VITA activists explained why stray sterilisation is a much more humane and effective approach to stray overpopulation problem than stray slaughter.

ETHICAL CODE FOR VETS

In autumn the Russian Association of Practising Vets passed an Ethical Code for veterinarians. According to the document a vet may neither sanction nor disregard any form of cruelty towards animals he or she witnesses. An Ethical Committee will control the fulfilment of this and other norms defined by the code. VITA's president and biologist Irina Novozhilova will make part of the Committee.

VITA AGAINST DOLPHIN MASSACRE IN JAPAN

On October 8, the international day of protest against dolphin slaughter in Japan VITA sent an open letter to the country's ambassador in Russia. In her appeal VITA urged Japanese authorities to ban the atrocious slaughter.

Popular Radio channel Svoboda broadcast a program devoted to the problem.


MOSCOW INTRODUCES EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL RIGHTS
COURSE FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN


In 2004-2005 VITA wrote an animal rights course for secondary schools. VITA is momentarily testing the course within a unique project "Young animal advocate" led by KLUB DOBRIKH SERDETS (Club of Kind-Hearted). In September 2005 the Moscow government sanctioned the introduction of the course into the curriculum of several secondary schools as an experiment.

During the lessons VITA staff tell the young the truth about hidden animal abuse in the modern world. They teach the children to respect any life. Children are enjoying role plays, debates, video films, practical classes, etc.


APPEAL TO OUR READERS

Dear animal lover,

Do you appreciate of VITA's work for the animals? Do you think this work is necessary in Russia?

If possible, please support VITA in the way you can. Any donation would be of great value to us.

The truth is that it is very difficult to impossible to effectively fundraise in Russia - the land of furs that has no culture of donating to charities. This is why we appeal to our readers abroad.

Stationary, telephone connection, transportation, rooms for press-conferences, etc - everything costs money, money that VITA at the moment does not have.

We urgently need funds to continue our work for the animals. Any donation would be of great value for the animals in Russia.

On behalf of the VITA team I thank you cordially.

I would also be most happy to learn what you think about VITA's activities throughout the last five months, and about this newsletter. Your opinion is very welcome.

If you are not on VITA's mailing list yet, but you would like to receive our free electronic quarterly newsletter, please send your e-mail address to:

maroueva-reijngoudt.vita@bluewin.ch . To unsubscribe please write to the same address.

Sincerely yours,

Tanya Maroueva,

the author of this newsletter,

public relations,

Animal Rights Centre VITA

P.S: Please support VITA's work to protect maltreated animals in Russia



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