Volkodav Fighting In Russia
In Russia & other nations of the former Soviet Union there are few sports that are less bloody than the wolf-dog fights that are held on a regular basis. These are the same kind of fights that the author, Jack London, chronicled & described so vividly in his books about the Yukon Gold Rush, "White Fang" & "Call Of The Wild."
Today these bouts between animals are being held & money is being bet upon these noble canines. In many nations such sports are banned & criminal charges are leveled against the operators of such events. Not so in Russia! These events are well publicized, well attended & there is the chance to make some money if you pick the winners!
Having been to several of these fights when with Russian, Kazakh, Georgian or Armenian hosts I can say that. Ã¿es it is exciting. It is in my opinion somewhat cruel." On my own I would attend these fights but when you are with your hosts & they go you must as well as you given no opportunity to decline. The bloodiest & largest fights I have witnessed were heldnear Chelyabionks in the Ural Mountians.
Dogfighting is prohibited in much of the West & animal rights advocates have long wished to have it banned in Russia along with the rest of the former Soviet Union. They have labeled it a cruel & bloody diversion for gamblers & thugs taking advantage of the instincts of animals. They have succeeded in Moscow, where the fights are now banned by mayoral decree. The legality of these bloody spectacles is unclear. Russia's criminal code includes a statute forbidding cruelty to animals, but to date, animal rights advocates & dog breeders agree, it has not been used against volkodav fights. The statute's language is vague & Elena Maruyeva, director of the Vita Center for Animal Rights Protection, a private organization in Moscow, said the government did not interpret it broadly. "In practice it is very, very hard to prosecute a person under this law," stated Elena. This bloody sport appears to be under no significant legal threat. Maruyeva & an official at another of the principal animal protection organizations in Moscow said that so far, they had not pushed for bans on wolf dog fighting. Instead, they hope for other measures, like restrictions on the breeding of attack dogs, registration of wolf dog breeders and enacting standards for their care. The dog owners say that because the fights are not forbidden, they are allowed. They note that government officials know about the tourneys & The All-Russian Association of Russian Volkodavs publicizes the results. Fight fans also sell plainly labeled videos of the fights.
The All-Russian Association of Russian Volkodavs, sponsors a national fighting championship & participates in fights in other nations. The All-Russian Association of Russian Volkodavs claims to have more than 1,000 breeders in its membership & another 1,000 owners who enter their dogs in the fights. It holds tournaments openly & has more than enough fans to support a glossy magazine, a Web site & an annual championship tournament. Members of this association brush aside any criticism as ill-informed & superficial. They say that the sport has roots in traditional contests in which shepherds tested their work dogs & celebrated their stamina along with their wolf-fighting skills. They also insist that their tournaments, unlike secretive fights with pit bulls & other fighting breeds, never involve contests to the deathn & that none of their dogs are injured seriously.
Under The All-Russian Association of Russian Volkodavs rules, all of the dogs are sorted into 2 classes for age & weight. They are juniors until age 2 1/2 at which point they are classified as adults. Middleweights must weigh less than 62 kilos, about 136 pounds. Any dog heavier is a heavyweight.
"Only people who have not seen it, and do not understand it, dislike this," said Stanislav Mikhailov, the association's president.
Throughout Central Asia & the Caucasus, through the Urals & extending to the outskirts of Russia's capital, Moscow, the sport has thrived, cementing local legitimacy as well as gaining new followers especially since the Soviet Union's collapse. Now it has returned to Afghanistan, where it was forbidden during the rule of the Taliban.
The sport involves massive, thick-headed breeds, including Central Asian shepherd dogs & Caucasian ovcharka, which bred by livestock herders across the continent to defend sheep & cattle in the mountains & out on the steppes. Collectively the dogs are called volkodavs, wolf-killers & are known for their ability to fight wolves & other predatory animals to protect their flocks & herds.
You may read C. J. Chivers entire article at:Â http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/09/world/europe/09dogfight.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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ISBN #: 978-1577790624
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Copyright Â© 2007-2008 Donald R Houston, PhD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.