Red card for Yair Shamir

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 repugnant.

By MOSHE BEN-YITZHAK
August 18, 2013 21:39
2 minute read.
WORKERS at a factory in Copenhagen stand near fur pelts soon to be shipped to the int'l market.

furs factory 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

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 fur products.

“It’s not an Israeli issue,” he’s quoted as saying.

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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.”

The proposed 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 repugnant.

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 community.

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 Coalition.


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