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'Animal Welfare Law not being properly enforced'
By SHARON UDASIN
06/05/2012
Right group charges that despite an existing law serving to protect them, many animals in Israel still suffer abuse.
 
The Animal Welfare Law is not being properly enforced, and the Agriculture Ministry is evading its obligation to create up-to-date regulations for handling animals, a new report declared this week.

The report, written by animal advocacy group Anonymous for Animal Rights, argued that, despite an existing law serving to protect them, many animals in Israel still suffer abuse – such as confinement in cages that do not allow free motion, starvation periods and limb removal without proper anesthetics.

While the Animal Welfare Law has been in effect for 18 years, no one is protecting the animals and securing their welfare, the group charged.

The law requires that the Agriculture Ministry issue regulations that define basic criteria for protecting animals from abuse in various sectors – such as farms, petting zoos and kennels, the report said. Many animals across Israel do not receive any of the basic protection that the law affords them, with chickens often held in extremely crowded conditions, their beaks chopped off without any anesthesia and male newborns sent to die in garbage bags, according to the organization.

The Anonymous for Animal Rights report also introduced a series of recommendations to improve the law’s execution, including adjusting livestock-holding container sizes to the standards of other advanced countries. In addition, the report charged that the Agriculture Ministry has for the most part disregarded its responsibilities and has failed to enact most of the regulations that would allow for enforcement, despite promises made to the High Court, members of Knesset and the attorney-general, the report charged.

In a reaction to the group’s allegations, the Agriculture Ministry said that animal welfare issues have been increasingly dominant in the public as well as on the legislative agenda.

Legislative work on animal rights is always complex, requires extensive evaluations and takes much time, according to the ministry.

When creating regulations, the government must consult with professionals from both Israel and abroad and arrange expert teams that include academics, farmers and animal welfare organizations, the ministry statement continued.

Last year, however, the ministry successfully executed a regulation, approved in December, for the transport and containment of poultry and pigs, which will now be used toward promoting reform in the swine industry through a recently established interministerial task force, the statement said.

In addition to the livestock transport regulation, the ministry has created many regulations under the Animal Welfare Law, including rules for holding calves intended for consumption, as well as rules for animal funds, animal exhibitions and performances and contests of animals, the ministry added.
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