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Monday, August 11, 2014

the plight of Zoo animals of Russia - Ukraine, Russia and Western Sanctions

Who would ever have thought that sanctions would affect animals, that too the ones in Zoo !!

Ukraine, a country  in Eastern Europe is in turmoil and has been in news for wrong reasons.  Bordered by  Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov – is a place in existence for thousands of years.  Following the events of the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, a secession crisis began on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. In late February 2014, unmarked armed forces began to take over the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Experts identified the gunmen to be Russian Special Forces and other paramilitaries. Russia at the time insisted that the forces did not include Russian troops stationed in the area, but only local self-defense forces. Later in Apr 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin admitted that Russian troops were in fact active in Crimea during the referendum, claiming this facilitated self-determination for the region. The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 last month, killing 298 people, exacerbated tensions between the West and Russia, as the separatists in eastern Ukraine were widely blamed. It is strongly suspected that a Russian missile system was used to down the jet. The crisis took turn for the worse -  Russia rejected the legitimacy of the interim Ukrainian government while many Countries of the World have imposed sanctions on Russia.

In July, the EU and US tightened sanctions on Russia, with Brussels applying restrictions to key sectors of the economy as well as individuals. The first round of sanctions came after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March ~ and Russia hit back imposing a "full embargo" on food imports from the EU, US and some other Western countries. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said it would include fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports.  In addition to the food imports embargo, Russia is banning Ukrainian airlines from transit across its territory, Mr Medvedev said in televised comments to the government.

It is stated that Russian sanctions on western food imports could hit Northern Ireland's food exporters. The Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association warned that it could result in over-supply of export markets on which local producers depend. Northern Ireland exported almost £3m worth of food to Russia in 2013/14. Of the milk and milk products that are produced over there almost 80% of them go to markets outside Ireland;  while Russia reportedly only makes up a small percentage.   

Whatever be the % - those who have been transacting large volumes of business with Russia could suffer hits.  Some huge orders on herrings and cheese reportedly have been cancelled.

.... the post is that – the Russian bears are hungry ! ~ Daily Mail reports that animals at Moscow Zoo are  starving under Western sanctions on food trade imposed because of Kremlin's policy on Ukraine. Keepers are urgently seeking to replace imported meat, fish, fruit and vegetables; almost all of the products that animals eat at Moscow Zoo are imported – the zoo's brown bears - creatures seen as the symbol of Russian virility - have a secret passion for Polish apples, which are now banned. There is anger that while food for babies have been exempted from the tit-for-tat sanctions list unveiled by Vladimir Putin's government, animal foods enjoy no such waiver.  Moscow Zoo spokeswoman is quoted as saying : 'Almost all of the products that animals consume at Moscow Zoo are imported. She complained: 'A lot of the animals eat apples and we bought Polish apples which were of good quality and inexpensive. ' She insisted that 'imported products are cheaper than domestic, and some products are rare in Russia or even not available at all.' There was surprise yesterday at the zoo's blunt attack on government policy amid an officially-inspired PR campaign to claim the move will act as a key incentive to upgrade Russia's domestic food production. 

The problem is not so easy to solve, because some of the animals are not ready to change the suppliers. For example Russia imports whole fish caught off South America - the only kind that the zoo's penguins will eat. 

So the civil strife is creating unrest in zoo animals too !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th Aug 2014.

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