Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev is one of the main advocates of retaining sanctions against western food imports and initiated the policy of destroying them: “By destroying smuggled goods,” the minister declared, “we support our own producers.”
Quite how that support manifests itself is problematical because, under Tkachev, the Ministry of Agriculture is currently lobbying energetically for drastic restrictions on how many livestock can be reared in privately owned farms. The official pretext for this is the need to “restore order in the registration and provision of veterinary safeguards.” According to Tkachev, a “normal, small farm” should have no more than 20 cows on it. But “when a private farm has 1,000 sheep running about all over the steppe, or more than 100 cows grazing,” there is cause for concern because, supposedly, there will be “no veterinary controls in place”.
The Ministry seems incapable, or perhaps just unwilling, to do anything about the problem, preferring to introduce bans and compulsory closures. Why should some small farmers own thousands of sheep, or even a hundred?
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