Vladimir Putin reportedly bathes in deer antler blood believed to stop ageing

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Vladimir Putin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin holds a glass during a ceremony of receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 9, 2016. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

A number of Russians have allegedly bathed in blood from severed antlers of Siberian red deers due to the belief that doing so can stop the process of ageing and improve sexual performance, local media reports. Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly one of them.

Deer antler blood was said to be responsible for the stamina of the 65-year-old Kremlin leader, who was once photographed topless on horseback. Putin has been alleged to take these bloodbaths several times per year, wherein red-coloured baths are prepared by extracting blood and boiling into a broth.

The ancient tradition is perceived as a testosterone-driven elixir for improved male health and potency. The antlers have been called horns of gold in 15th-century Russian literature.

There is no proof that blood of velvety deer antlers has a healing effect. But in spite of the lack of scientific proof, the people at the Nikolskoe farm say they have had high-profile Russian athletes visit for antler blood treatment. Also among the reported consumers were Olympians and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Farm manager Ludmila Korotkhih explained to CNN that it was not a drug but more of a supplement when the news outlet visited one of the farms in the Altai Mountains in Nikolskoe. “But it makes our immune system strong, heals the body and gives us great strength, men's libido in particular,” Korotkhih said.

Animal rights campaigners have slammed the practice of sawing off the antlers to extract blood without anaesthetic. According to a 2017 report by The Daily Mail, observers said the creatures were “bewildered” and “shellshocked,” their eyes “bulging with fright.”

Russian Animal Protection Centre Vita president Irina Novozhilova has called the method “totally abnormal.” She said that bloodbaths is a pure example of a cruelty towards animals. “It is strange that we are discussing this matter in the 21st century, because the faith in the effectiveness of this medicine made from antlers comes from ancient times,” she added.

CNN reports the farmers as saying that it is no big deal for the animals as they grow a new pair of antlers every year. The farm has over 1,000 deer. The farmers start cutting off the antlers when the animals are about three years old.

Korotkhih reportedly sees deer antler blood as a growing industry. He does not see the practice going away anytime soon.

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