Belarus

G
Belarus
Recognising animal protection

Recognising animal protection

This theme examines recognition of animal sentience and the importance of animal protection as a societal value within the country, including government support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, prohibition of cruelty and protection for different categories of animals.

G

Formal recognition of animal sentience

There is no policy or legislation

The government has not developed any policy or legislation by which sentience is acknowledged or recognised.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

As it stands today, there is no formal evidence or signal from the government to recognise sentience as an independent issue that will inform discussions of animal issues in the country. As such, sentience is not included and does not inform public policies that could be potentially linked to animals (such as environmental or sustainable production policies).

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has not yet incorporated current practical experience and scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience into the country’s legislation. The government does not appear to consider animal welfare as an important issue, which is concerning because Belarus is a member of the OIE, which has guiding principles on animal welfare that are based on the premise that animals are sentient beings.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

There is no policy or legislation

The government has not pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no support for the UDAW. Support for the UDAW would be a first step into integrating animal protection considerations into different discussion tables, becoming a soft law source for decision makers interested in improving animal protection in the country.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The government has not demonstrated interest in improving animal protection in the country.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

G

Laws against causing animal suffering

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy or legislation in the country preventing animal suffering by deliberate acts or negligence. Some legislation produced to regulate veterinary activities and the veterinary service in general (Law of the Republic of Belarus 3423-XII of 2 December 1994) mentions in its preamble that the law is aimed at protecting animals in respect of their health, but does not appear to contain any provisions on welfare or anti-cruelty measures. There is no evidence of any further legislative protection for animals in the country.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Following international trends, developing national legislation and policies to promote animal protection by prohibiting acts and omissions which cause animal suffering are the first steps to reach comprehensive animal protection. Countries with similar economies and some neighbouring countries in the region have taken this step, and the government is encouraged to follow this trend.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of existing policy or legislation relevant to this indicator; this does not appear to have priority within government work, and it may be that by tradition and custom there is little awareness and concern for animal welfare issues, presenting significant barriers to progress in this area.  

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator. 

F

Protecting animals used in farming

There is no policy or legislation

Law 3423-XII of 1994, on regulation of the veterinary service, includes a single provision in Article 16 according to which animal transport should be done under the supervision of veterinary services, but does not include a mandate to monitor welfare as part of this supervision. 

There is some secondary legislation on slaughter and transport of animals for human consumption. Decree 44 of 2008 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food includes provisions on veterinary inspections taking place at the point of slaughter. Article 8 provides that transportation, stunning and exsanguination must be performed in compliance with the principles of humane treatment; however, “humane treatment” is defined as the care and use of animals that does not cause abnormalities or pathological body changes or changes to the quality of products derived from them, and therefore does not appear to contain welfare considerations. Article 17.2 prohibits the slaughter of an animal which is established by a veterinary technician to be in a state of agony, although accompanying provisions (such as Article 3.5, prohibiting the use of meat from such animals) demonstrate that this arises out of concern over meat quality rather than animal welfare.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government has passed some legislation focusing on the health and productivity of animals. Health is an important part of welfare, but health protection in itself without welfare considerations could potentially undermine the conditions of certain species or activities in relation to farming. The government is encouraged to work on specific animal welfare legislation, which should in turn have a positive impact on animal health.

The fact that no animal protection legislation has been passed for the protection of animals used in farming makes it very difficult for other sources or even categories of animals to be considered in decision-making debates in the country. The only laws found on animals in farming are focused on human health and productivity, enforcing the perception of animals as mere commodities.

Reports by the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission in 2012 (on poultry production) and 2010 (on bovines dedicated to milk production) acknowledge the existence of some veterinary controls for both industries but highlight shortcomings in welfare, partly explained by weak or inexistent legislative standards.

Although it could be seen as positive that Article 17.2 of Decree 44 of 2008 prohibits the slaughter of an animal which is established by a veterinary technician to be in a state of agony, accompanying provisions (such as Article 3.5, prohibiting the use of meat from such animals) demonstrate that the motivation for this prohibition is for human health reasons rather than animal welfare. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress. Information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food appears to indicate that there are responsibilities associated with farm animals, which suggests that some improvement could be possible, but no evidence of legislative or policy background for this responsibility was found.

The country’s state veterinary service is said to have a budget for health promotion from the veterinary management bodies and resources received from citizens and legal entities in the country, as specified in Chapter 5 of Law 3423-XII of 1994. 

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals in captivity

There is no policy or legislation

Law 3423-XII of 1994, which regulates aspects of the veterinary profession and tangentially animal health, includes zoo and circus animals as well as fur animals and “other representatives of the animal world” (Article 1). However this law is concerned with disease control and does not contain any welfare considerations.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

Animals are defined in Belarussian legislation only in relation to their use, therefore not providing a framework for the discussion of welfare conditions taking into account animals individually and outside the framework of human use of animals. There are no provisions in this law or evidence of existing additional legislation for the promotion of welfare of animals in this category.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of financial or human resource dedicated to the promotion of animal welfare in relation to this category of animals. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting companion animals

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of existing provisions in legislation dedicated to the care and protection of companion animals. Law 3423-XII of 1994 includes in the definition of animal the sub-category “home animals” but does not develop further provisions for their protection.

There are a number of laws and ministerial orders in relation to animals that can be killed or destroyed for rabies control, including dogs. The Veterinary Law (Law 3423-XII of 1994) makes provision for regulations to be made on the destruction of animals carrying contagious diseases. A number of Decrees and Orders from the Ministry reinforce this position and describe in detail methods by which the culls should take place. No evidence was found on relevant legislation of disease control methods other than culling, and the existing provisions on culling do not appear to mandate humane methods of killing.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government has not introduced any legislation aimed at protecting the welfare of companion animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The country has problems with stray dog population control that gives rise to the killing of animals, including dogs, in a way that negatively affects the country’s reputation with respect to animal protection both nationally and internationally.[1] In this particular regard, one of the greatest barriers to progress in improving animal welfare in Belarus is the failure to address this issue via the effective means of population management via neutering and spaying.

 

[1] For example http://en.belapan.com/archive/2013/11/21/en_media_zhyvely_v1/ and http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/stray-cats-dying-cruel-death-in-belarus-act...

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals used for draught and recreation

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy or legislation relating to the welfare of working animals. 

The definition of “animal” in Law 3423-XII of 1994 includes animals in circuses, but no provisions or restrictions to said activity were found in this law. In 2012, the government produced Decree No. 6 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food validating Veterinary and Sanitary Regulation on keeping of live animals in circuses, but this does not include any welfare related considerations.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The lack of policy and legislative developments on the issue of animals used for work and in entertainment leaves a large number of animals outside the sphere of legal protection and therefore further policy development is encouraged in the country. It is noted that very recent legislative production to regulate the conditions in which animals in circuses are kept (Decree No. 6 of 2012) does not include any welfare-related provisions.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of policy or legislation indicating human or financial resource allocated to the promotion of animal welfare for animals in this category. However, the introduction of measures concerning the welfare of animals in circuses (Decree No. 6 of 2012) indicates a certain level of government interest in this issue that may provide a foundation for further progress on animal welfare.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

Decree No. 6 of 2012 on circuses includes inspection powers for veterinarians, but does not include any animal welfare considerations; therefore there are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

G

Protecting animals used in scientific research

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The country has not developed any legislative protection of animals used in scientific research. It is noteworthy that this category of animals does not even appear in the definition of animals in Law 3423-XII of 1994 (on the regulation of veterinary activities), suggesting that this is not an issue that the government has considered for regulation.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

There is no evidence of existing policy or legislation relevant to this indicator. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

E

Protecting the welfare of wild animals

There is legislation with partial application

Belarus has some legislation regulating hunting and fishing, including Decree 580 of 2005 on hunting and fishing, Decree 702 of 2006 on game management and Decree 700 of 2006 on wild fauna management. In addition, the country has a series of Decrees and other policy literature on conservation, which include a list of endangered animal and plant species that citizens are not permitted to hunt (compiled in a “Red Book”) in Decree 14 of 2004.

The country has some legislation on the destruction (by shooting) of wild animals considered harmful in Decree 4 of 2003 and does not ban or restrict the farming of wild animals for fur.

In addition, fisheries and fish captured for human consumption are regulated by a number of Decrees and Orders. For example, Decree 1370 of 2003 includes regulations on industrial fishing. However these provisions do not include controls on animal welfare.

The legislation relating to wild animals is focused on conservation rather than on the welfare of individual animals.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The existing legislation does not cover animal welfare provisions with regard to wild animals and legitimises activities such as hunting that can have a detrimental effect on animal welfare.  It is unfortunate that most of the provisions in existing law pay no regard to the welfare of wild animals and regulate activities such as trapping and shooting that may have a negative impact on the welfare of wild animals.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The legislation addresses issues such as the size of the country's animal populations for hunting purposes. There is no evidence of any explicit concern for animal welfare.  The Ministry of Forestry runs its own commercial hunting lodges and there is legislation indicating that hunting is part of the country’s traditional background, which introduces an additional barrier for the improvement of animal welfare in the country. As an example, a Regulation of the Ministry of Natural Resources from 25 March 1997 includes cultural and aesthetic purposes as valid purposes for hunting.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

The existing legislation includes a series of administrative mechanisms, including licences for hunting and further police powers and criminal procedures for the protection of endangered species. There is no evidence of existing policy and additional literature on the welfare of wild animals that can provide further guidance to citizens in the country of the protection measures available in legislation.

Governance structures and systems

Governance structures and systems

This theme examines government commitment to improving animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government.

F

Government accountability for animal welfare

There is legislation with partial application

The Department of Veterinary and Food Control within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is responsible for animal health in Belarus. Health improvements would have a beneficial effect on animal welfare but further provisions are needed to ensure that the physiological and ethological needs of animals are met so as to satisfy their welfare needs. There is no evidence that specifically improving animal protection and animal welfare is a concern of the Ministry. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection states that it has the objective of protecting fauna and flora; however the existing remit of protection relates to conservation of biodiversity.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no evidence that the country’s ministries working on issues in relation to animals have direct responsibilities associated with the promotion of animal welfare in the country. There is no indication that the existing legislation takes account of animal welfare and as such, making the concept important to the general public is difficult. The government is encouraged to assign specific responsibilities regarding the development of animal protection policy and legislation.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress. There was no evidence found of legislation allocating responsibility for animal welfare outside the remit of conservation and animal health; this does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government. This presents an obstacle to developing animal protection measures in the country.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.

Animal welfare standards

Animal welfare standards

This theme examines whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, the extent of engagement with the OIE on animal welfare issues, and whether the government publishes reports on progress in improving animal welfare.

G

Engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

There is no policy or legislation

There are a number of reports on the country’s animal health status, particularly for livestock (pigs and cattle). However there is no evidence of the country’s interaction with the organisation in issues pertaining animal welfare. There is no evidence of OIE PVS reports or missions undertaken in the country.   

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The scope of the interaction with the OIE and in particular, the lack of legislative and policy production on the OIE animal welfare standards, limits the possibilities for development of a framework in which animal welfare considerations are brought to wider decision-making tables. The government would benefit from including further recommendations, guidelines and procedures from the OIE in their legislative and policy work. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

No evidence was found according to which the government has allocated budget or human resource to interact with the OIE on issues regarding animal welfare improvement. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

As the evidence suggests that the country’s current interaction with OIE stands at a bare minimum, there are no mechanisms by which this interaction can be said to be enforced or even enriched by policy documents and mechanisms with an impact on animal welfare.

G

OIE animal welfare standards

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence according to which implementation of the OIE’s standards and guiding principles can be found in legislation in the country. Although there are mandates according to which veterinarians should oversee certain activities in relation to animals in the country, there is no legal indication that this supervision includes animal welfare concerns.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The OIE’s standards on animal welfare not only represent a consensual position achieved internationally by countries represented in the organisation, but also provide the necessary scientific background to produce sound policy and legislation on animal welfare. Belarus has participated in the OIE discussions of the standards, so the government is familiar with them. By developing policy and legislation focusing on the standards, the country could improve the overall system of animal protection.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The country has severe limitations in its progress towards transposition and implementation of the OIE’s standards. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government. The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

G

Reporting on progress

There is no policy or legislation

There is no evidence of policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

The government does not appear to produce reports on animal welfare.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

As the country does not have any policy or legislation on which reports could be formulated, reporting activities are impossible to pursue. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Providing humane education

Providing humane education

This theme examines whether issues of animal care and protection are included in the national education system at primary and secondary level, and comments on whether animal welfare issues such as humane handling form part of veterinary medicine education.

G

Education on animal care and protection

There is no policy or legislation

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

There is no apparent evidence that the educational system in Belarus includes any reference to animal protection.

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

No evidence was found that Belarus’ educational system includes any reference to animal protection. This does not appear to be an area of priority work and spending for government.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

Promoting communication and awareness

Promoting communication and awareness

This theme examines whether there is government consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders on animal protection issues, such as the development of new legislation and policy and the licensing of scientific research using animals.

G

Consultation with stakeholders

There is no policy or legislation

There was no evidence found of relevant policy or legislation. The existing legislation and policies on animal protection are very limited and none refer to the establishment of councils, commissions or working groups in which relevant stakeholders are represented or consulted.

Are legal provisions effective in acknowledging animal welfare as a mainstream concern?

No publicly available official information was found on this subject. Information on the existence of charitable organisations dedicated to animal welfare, animal protection and animal sheltering is sparse and no animal protection networks were found to operate in the country. 

Are there economic and societal barriers to improving animal welfare in the country?

The country does not appear to have a structure of organisations that could support the government in the production of policy and legislation on animal protection and animal welfare. Even if such structure were to exist, there is no evidence or mandate for these organisations to participate in decision-making processes. It appears that there are significant barriers to improvement.

Are enforcement mechanisms in place in policy and legislation?

There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.

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Inflation is high in Belarus. The BMI forecasts that it will increase to 18% at the end of 2014 due to “continued depreciation of the Belarusian ruble”. This has led to increases in the price of imported food stuff. Real GDP is forecast to contract by -1.8% and -0.4% in 2014 and 2015, as well as a contraction in the “petrochemicals and transport equipment” industries.

 

Date of information: 11/02/2014
Population 
9,464,000
GDP 
$63,267,029,437
GDP (PPP) 
$15,579
Education expenditure (% of GDP) 
5.2 (2011)