In his interview with Sharon Udasin last month, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir
made several statements about attempts to regulate the fur trade in Israel. He
is opposed to legislation that would set a precedent banning the importation of
“It’s not an Israeli issue,” he’s quoted as
Fur products are bought and sold throughout the world, including
Israel. This makes this as much an Israeli issue as a global issue. Clothing
made with animal fur is imported from a great many countries. Israel is on good
terms with some of these countries, while our relations with others are
improving. This is an important factor to consider when implementing a law that
would ban the important of a particular item.
Several countries already
have prohibited certain segments of the fur industry. The Netherlands bans fox
and chinchilla farming, and is phasing out mink farming.
The US has
banned the importation of items made with fur from dogs for over 10 years. Such
prohibitions have not negatively affected how either the US or the Netherlands
is perceived worldwide.
In the interview, Udasin pointed out that the
bill is supported by several MKs. Shamir dismissed this, saying, “It’s a
worldwide issue, and someone is taking advantage of the political situation here
– new Knesset members are looking for a horse to ride on.”
legislation is actually supported by 40 MKs – a third of the Knesset. Both
veteran and new MKs from Yesh Atid, Likud, Shas, Labor, Meretz, Hadash and
United Arab List-Ta’al support the bill. It is similar to legislation that was
introduced in the 18th Knesset by MK Nitzan Horowitz. Thus, it has a history
that predates Yair Shamir’s sixmonth tenure as a MK.
There are many
synthetic fibers that are superior to fur in terms of warmth, durability and
cost. Since these are economically and technically superior, raising and
slaughtering an animal for the sole purpose of wearing “real fur” is morally
Recognizing this, 40 MKs have stood up for the anti-fur bill.
The current draft contains a clause permitting the importation of fur articles
for “religious” traditions, a small compromise made for the ultra-Orthodox
Nonetheless, if passed into law, this bill would be the first
nationwide fur ban in the world.
Minister Shamir’s opposition to the bill
has little merit. His argument that it is not an Israeli issue ignores the basic
fact that Israel is part of the global economy. His argument that this is some
sort of gimmick for new MKs is false, as this bill has been under discussion for
over four years.
Given Shamir’s predilection for supporting commercial
issues over ethical ones – he voiced similar criticism of the recent moves to
ban foie gras – it is time that the man responsible for the nation’s food supply
takes moral inventory.
The writer is a professional in the life science
industry with 30 years experience, and an activist in the International Anti-Fur