(photo credit: Tibor Jager)
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz appealed on Wednesday night to
Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein, requesting that he do whatever he can to
remove bureaucratic roadblocks preventing the transfer of 700 monkeys from the
disputed Mazor Farm to shelters around the world.
and Nature and Parks Authority bodies are acting in order to locate refuges
around the world,” Peretz wrote in his letter to Weinstein. “Although the
ministry is not responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of these
monkeys, ministry officials are acting with dedication and care for the monkeys’
peace and wellbeing.”
A heated subject for animal-rights activists, the
Mazor Farm was exporting monkeys born in nature for experimental use until June
2012, following a High Court of Justice ruling. Although the government decided
in January that the farm must close by 2015, the Environmental Protection
Ministry is seeking to find suitable refuges around the world for the 700
monkeys still there as soon as possible, the ministry said.
succeeded in transferring 50 to the Ben Shemen Monkey Park – Israel’s sole
refuge for the treatment and rehabilitation of monkeys – after Sukkot, but
officials there lack the funds necessary to bring the rest of them to safety.
Nonetheless, Ben Shemen Monkey Park Director Tamar Freedmann is in Indonesia,
looking for potential solutions, and another staff member recently visited South
Africa with the same goal, the ministry explained.
In his letter to
Weinstein, Peretz asked the attorney general to support the ministry’s effort to
urgently acquire a special budget necessary for the monkeys’ transport.
Explaining how the Mazor Farm monkeys have suffered greatly while being used for
breeding, Peretz described how many of the babies were separated from their
mothers after being captured. Families of monkeys have been continually
destroyed, beginning from their departure from their home countries to Israel
and continuing during transport from Israel to their destination countries, when
some babies were left to remain on the farm, Peretz said.
30, Environment Ministry officials made an urgent request for a special budget
approval, which would be administered by the ministry and would go to the Ben
Shemen monkey refuge, which in turn would be responsible for finding homes for
the monkeys, according to Peretz. The money, Peretz stressed, would be used for
locating new shelters internationally for the monkeys and for preparing them for
In response to Peretz’s letter, the Justice Ministry told
The Jerusalem Post that the letter had been received and the issues will be