‘Prison cells for animals’: Tatarstan Parliament supports ban on travelling zoos
Deputies of the Tatarstan State Council agree with their Bashkir colleagues who offered to ban using animals for entertainment
Deputies of the Tatarstan State Council were concerned about the fate of travelling animals, supported producers of organic products and approved a bill on giving public lands to investors without tenders. However, in the latter case, investments should account for no less than 350 million rubles and a part of them will be spent to save hoodwinked homebuyers and depositors. Parliamentarians also found out that the bird flu and African swine fever didn’t allow the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture and Food to fulfil its production profitability plan despite a good harvest and weather and market prices. Read the details from a meeting of the parliamentary Committee for Environment, Use of Natural Resources, Agro-Industrial and Food Policy in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
Bumper harvest 2020
The deputies listened to Vice Minister of Agriculture and Food of Tatarstan Rishat Khabipov who reported on the performance of the state agriculture development programme last year and the first quarter of 2021 first. So in 2020, 14,4 billion rubles were allocated to finance the programme, 3,9 billion rubles came from the federal budget, the regional budget sent 10,5bn rubles.
The ministry achieved all 132 goals except one — production profitability. With a target equal to 19%, the real percentage totalled 12,8%. Khabipov explained that the performance wasn’t good enough because of a fall in the price for poultry, as a result of which they fell short of 214 million rubles.
In 2020, the agricultural produce production index in all categories was 104%. Agricultural organisations’ income was 13,2 million rubles, which is 3,8 million rubles more than a year ago. The share of unprofitable enterprises of the sector reduced by 5,3%, the tax debt decreased by 8% and totalled 477,7 million rubles. Around half of all debts — 232,3 million rubles — belong to bankrupt companies. The average monthly salary in agriculture rose by 12% and reached 28,170 rubles.
Good weather influenced record numbers of crops and legumes — 5,2 million tonnes (127% of the plan). Winter crops were sowed on an area of 552,000 ha for the harvest in 2021. Around 17% of them (94,000 ha) are insured.
Milk production increased by 40,000 tonnes in the republic. The growth took place thanks to technological modernisation, a rise in the amount of cattle and productivity of cows. In 2020, 16 milk complexes for 6,500 additional stalls were built and put into operation. 19 investment projects for 22,000 heads will continue to be implemented in 2021-2022, the construction of another 10 new milk complexes, 20 forage centres is scheduled.
Information technologies are introduced on milk farms — flock and feeding management programmes. The first one is installed in 40 out of 43 basic farms (the coverage is 93%), the second one — in 29.
70% financing thanks to new grant
About half of gross agriculture produce are small farms. Farmers show higher growth paces — 109,7%. Mainly state support measures existing in the republic help this. 155 farms received a total of 899,2 million rubles of different grant programmes.
The vice minister announced a new grant programme would be launched in 2021. The money will allow financing at least 70% of projects, another 5% must be provided with a farmer’s own money.
The ministry pays special attention to the sale and recycling of products by developing agricultural consumer cooperatives. In 2020, 23 cooperatives received 29,2 million rubles of subsidies within national projects to compensate costs for buying produce from cooperatives, 15 won grants of 478,2 million rubles. 10 agricultural credit consumer cooperatives were registered to grant loans to farmers.
The regional budget allocated 1,7bn rubles to upgrade the agricultural machinery fleet. 2,400 pieces of agricultural machinery and equipment in 600 households were subsidised.
Tatarstan is leader in rural mortgage
Rishat Khabipov also talked about social support measures for the countryside. A lot of money was spent in a programme of integrated development of rural territories. 6,400 square metres for 91 families for 217,2 million rubles were delivered. This dwelling is provided according to an agreement. Tatarstan was among leading regions in the number of rural mortgages that were granted. The amount of loans amounted to 3,4 billion rubles, over 15,000 families took advantage of them.
A big job was done to improve the countryside, 500 facilities (sports playgrounds, pavements, illumination and so on) were built.
351,5 million rubles were provided for modern engineering infrastructure. 30,9 km of water and gas pipelines were laid, 10 projects on integrated improvement of areas for housing development were implemented with this money. 10,3 km of water supply networks were laid in Oktyabrsky settlement in Zelenodolsk District, 15,5 km of roads connecting six settlements were built and reconstructed.
Bird flu foiled numbers
Discussing the report, deputy Takhir Khadeyev noted that the amount of meat production in the republic stably stays at the same level, 528,600 tonnes, while in neighbouring Mari El, which is five times smaller than Tatarstan, produces 350,000 tonnes. “It seems to be we don’t grow. What impedes us?” the parliamentarian wondered.
Khabipov replied that African fever and the bird flu are the culprits, they became the obstacles. But Kazan and Chelny have already started implementing investment projects that will succeed in the next two years. The deputy also noted that mainly citizens of the districts neighbouring with Kazan take out the rural mortgage — Vysokaya Gora, Laishevo, Pestrechi Districts, while backwater residents don’t use it. Khadeyev offered to set limits to those districts with the highest demand for housing.
But the vice minister calmed him down: this year, the amount of rural mortgages has doubled — to 7 billion rubles, and not only Rosselkhozbank will grant them. “We will have to involve everybody to reach those limits. It is a very big number,” Khabipov said.
Tatarstan Vice Chairman of the State Council Marat Akhmerov was surprised that the ministry didn’t manage to reach the target profitability number. Moreover, the weather was very good, the harvest was good, the prices for oil crops, milk were competitive. He offered to carefully analyse what was the reason and make a summary.
Head of the committee Azat Khamayev tabled the topic of grants in Agrostartup programme again. We should remind you that 164 farmers were to get them, while only 64 were granted. Khabipov explained that the republic didn’t receive the money from the federal budget because of the pandemic.
“We are elaborating an option in which they will participate in the programmes this year or receive subsidies for production costs thanks to other support measures. We know every person, we work personally with them,” the vice minister replied.
Prison cells for animals
Members of the committee supported their Bashkir colleagues who offered to ban the use of animals for entertainment. They unanimously voted for making amendments to Article 15 of the federal law On Responsible Treatment to Animals and making changes to separate legislative acts of the Russian Federation by adding a ban on creation and activity of travelling zoos, circuses and dolphinariums.
“As a rule, animals in travelling zoos are locked up in small cages all year round, which are, in fact, prison cells for animals. They are devoid of proper care, food, veterinary care. Animals in such establishments, first of all, are a tool to make money for their owners. The situation in dolphinariums is the same. Immobilised dolphins often have to stay in cramped containers all the time it takes to transport and build constructions for a show and during breaks between performances, which makes mobile big mammals suffer very much,” Takhir Khadeyev explained.
When the meeting ended, Marat Akhmetov said that people care about animals more than about people who at times have to live on “15 square metres” with their family.
A bill on development of organic production in Tatarstan also fully supported too. “Nowadays organic agriculture is a world trend whose goal is to provide the population with eco-friendly products,” one of its authors Azat Khamayev claimed.
The deputies offer manufacturers of organic produce public support whose amount and order will be established by the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers. The bill will be offered for consideration at the next session of the Tatarstan State Council.
Land without tender
The committee’s deputies also unanimously approved a law on changes to the Land Code. The essence of the amendments is to lease land parcels that are state or municipal property to legal entities without tenders. Social and cultural as well as communal facilities can be located on such lands: organisations dealing with culture, art, cinematography, sport, beautification, health care, education, social protection and social service, communal services, utilities as well as waterworks, multilevel and underground parking, multi-storeyed garages.
Land will be provided without tenders for large investment projects. The bill explains their criteria: they must be not cheaper than 350 million rubles (except for the construction of private houses and blocks of flats) and no less than 20 million rubles if they are located in Naberezhnye Chelny Priority Social and Economic Development Area, 15 million rubles in Nizhnekamks PSEDA, 10 million in Zelenodolsk PSEDA, 2,5 million rubles in Chistopol and Mendeleyevsk PSEDA.
If an investor wants to build a block of flats on the parcel, the total area of dwelling must be no less than 5,000 square metres and a part of them must be provided to affected home buyers. If this is another housing development facility, an investor should support affected investors. The amount of the aid can’t be below the market price of the land parcel and no less than 50 million rubles.