Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has decided to accept Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan's recommendation to prohibit the export of monkeys for experimentation overseas, the ministry announced on Saturday evening.
For the past three years, the minister has been working to stop the export of monkeys abroad for economic gain. According to the ministry, the road to achieving the prohibition was met with many challenges along the way.
When Erdan initially ordered a change in policy, the Environmental Protection Ministry's legal adviser rejected the idea, fearing that such a change would hinder freedom of business and animal trade.
Erdan, however, opposed this position and decided to appeal to the Attorney General in order to gain approval for stricter animal trade policies, the ministry said.
As part of the decision, importing monkeys into Israel for breeding and exportation abroad will now be prohibited. In addition, breeding farms will only be able to supply monkeys for medical research trials in Israel alone – a very low volume, the ministry explained.
For the next two years – a transitional period – the export of monkeys will be allowed without the need to prove that it is meant for life-saving research, despite requests made by the Environmental Protection Ministry to impose such a requirement.
Meanwhile, because the new regulations do not require the Knesset's approval, the Environmental Protection Ministry will publish them shortly, following a necessary consultation with the Health Ministry.
"The cease of monkey trade significantly enhances the protection of animals and sends a clear message – animal trafficking for financial gain is something wrong," Erdan said. "The newly approved policy states explicitly that the moral considerations that guide those who wish to reduce pain and suffering in animals will prevail over economic considerations."