Tougher legal rules for wildlife trade announced
Move a response to calls by Erdan, animal rights groups regarding export of animals to overseas labs.
Baby long-tailed macaque monkey (illustrative) Photo: reuters
Animal rights groups on Sunday praised a decision by Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein to implement legal guidelines and tougher policies on the trade of
The announcement came in response to a request from
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan.
The new rules will
establish a legal infrastructure for determining new policy, which Weinstein
said could include a ban on importing wild animals for the purpose of exporting
them to third countries for use in laboratory testing.
The policy will be
subject to a hearing in which all relevant parties, including Erdan, the Health
Ministry, the Animal Experimentation Council and animal traders, will be invited
to provide input.
In his letter to Weinstein, Erdan said Israel’s current
policies had turned the country into a “global animal trading center.” He added
that wild animals were treated the same way as other commercial goods.
asked the attorney-general to consider outlawing trade in animals trapped in the
wild, but not the import of wild animals for experiments aimed at advances in
In response, Weinstein said Israel was “no
longer willing” to be a global center for the wild animal trade, but added that
legally there was no justification for a total ban ahead of a full examination
of the issue.
Regarding Erdan’s request to restrict the purposes for
which animals may be imported, Weinstein said there were “serious [legal]
difficulties” in implementing this because it was inconsistent with the 1994
Animal Welfare (Animal Experiments) Law. However, he noted that there was no
legal impediment to forcing traders to operate through “breeding farms” in order
to limit imports.
The High Court of Justice ruled last month that the
Mazor Farm, a Petah Tikva breeding center, could not export a group of female
macaque monkeys born in the wild to an animal testing laboratory in the
The animal rights group Let the Animals Live, which petitioned the
court against Mazor Farm, hailed Weinstein’s announcement as another victory in
its campaign against the farm.
Let the Animals Live spokeswoman Eti
Alterman said on Sunday that new policies would mean the attorney-general
“clearly thinks that the environment minister’s decision to ban the cruel
international trade in monkeys is appropriate and legally justified.”
group said it hoped the new policy would be “implemented with immediate affect
and put to an end the terrible place called Mazor Farm.”
that Israel’s trade in wild monkeys “puts us on par with the Third
In response to the attorney- general’s announcement, the
Environmental Protection Ministry emphasized that since taking office, Erdan had
been championing policies on animal protection, particularly regarding the use
of wildlife to promote economic interests.
“The adoption of my policy to
protect wildlife by the attorney-general is a leap forward toward protecting
animals and wildlife,” Erdan said.
The implementation of his policies
will be subject to a number of preliminary proceedings, according to the
ministry. Erdan therefore noted that he would act as soon as possible to execute
all the legal and administrative requirements in order to reduce the suffering