Russian politician warns that animal cruelty laws will lead to gay rights

A Russian Senator has warned that a bill outlawing cruelty to dogs is a ‘slippery slope’ to LGBT rights.

The bizarre claim comes from Communist Party Senator Sergei Kalashnikov after proposals were tabled to introduce some animal rights legislation.

Russia has some of the weakest legal protections for animals in the world, and both wild and domestic animals can be subjected to extreme cruelty.

But as the bill came forward to limit cruel treatment in the training of hunting dogs, Kalashnikov warned that it could lead to rights for a different oppressed minority.

According to the Moscow Times, he said: “We treat many western fads with humor, including political correctness, the rights of sexual minorities and others.

“But any thought, however humanitarian, becomes absurd when carried to its logical conclusion.

“We’re not only passing a law that won’t work for many reasons, but we’re also demonstrating that we’re following the same path, so to speak, of defending the rights of sexual minorities.”

The bill was eventually rejected, but only after Stepan Zhiryakov, the vice-chairman of the Agrarian Committee, clarified that dogs “should not be equated to sexual minorities.”

It is unclear what connection there is between banning cruelty against animals and LGBT rights legislation, aside from that of basic human decency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a dog (Photo by MAXIM SHEMETOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia provides no legal rights whatsoever for gay people in the country, and the LGBT community is actively persecuted both by vigilantes and by authorities under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.

The country’s law that outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”, which has been used to stifle any public display of homosexuality or display of support for LGBT rights.

The legislation has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, for a chilling effect that stifles all dissent on LGBT issues.

Last week the UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with LGBT activists and praised their work on a tense trip to Russia.

The British Foreign Secretary made a visit to Moscow at a time of frosty relations between the two countries.

Mr Johnson, a supporter of global LGBT rights, took advantage of the trip to meet with local queer activists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Photo by YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The politician also raised the persecution of gay people with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in an awkward exchange during a press conference.

Speaking alongside Lavrov, Mr Johnson said: “This is a difficult time in the relations between UK and Russia, as Sergei himself has just said

“We can’t ignore those difficulties, we can’t pretend that they don’t exist, and we don’t share a common perspective on events in Ukraine or the Western Balkans or, as the Prime Minister Theresa May has said, on the Russian activities in cyberspace.

“We speak up for the LGBT community in Chechnya, and elsewhere, as people would expect from us.

“I believe that having talked many times to Sergei, and particularly after our conversations today, that there are things that we can do together.”

The British official spoke about the importance of civil liberties in a speech at Plekhanov University, before meeting with a group of activists who are fighting for LGBT rights in the country.

He told them: “We celebrate people’s freedom of choice, including whom to love.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Foreign Secretary added on Twitter: “Met brave campaigners for LGBT, media freedoms & human rights in Russia. A free, vibrant civil society is a vital component of any democracy.”

France’s President Macron raised LGBT rights and reports of a homophobic purge in Chechnya in his first meeting with Vladimir Putin earlier this year.

He told the press: “I reminded President Putin of the importance for France of respect for all peoples, all minorities, and all opinions in civil society.

“We have raised the case of LGBT people in Chechnya but equally the case of NGOs across Russia.

“On these subjects, I have thus very precisely indicated to President Putin the expectations of France, and we have agreed to have an extremely regular follow-up together.”

Putin met with Macron (Getty Images)

He added: “President Putin has also indicated to me that he has taken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya, with measures aiming to bring out the whole truth on the actions of the local authorities and to fix the most sensitive issues.

“Regardless, I will, for my part, be constantly vigilant on these issues, which correspond to our values.”