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Putin condemns hunting of baby seals

Posted by Kris Roman on March 2, 2009

harp-seal-bgRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin showed a soft spot in his tough-guy image by condemning the hunting of baby whitecoat seals, Russian newspapers reported on Friday.

“This is a bloody business and it clearly should have been banned long ago,” Putin said during a meeting with his cabinet, quoted by official government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

The comments came after Russia’s natural resources minister told Putin that under new rules, hunters in the far north were banned from killing the youngest kind of seals, known as whitecoats for the colour of their fur.

Many countries have banned the large-scale hunting of whitecoat seals following protests by environmental groups.

Although Putin is better known in the West for pushing a muscular foreign policy and tightening control over the Russian political system, he has occasionally shown compassion for wildlife and nature.

In 2006 he decided to re-route a controversial oil pipeline around Siberia’s Lake Baikal, winning praise from environmental groups, and last October he was shown on television cuddling a tiger cub he had received as a birthday gift.

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