‘Animal import bill won’t halt medical research’

MK Amnon Cohen allays fears of scientists concerned that new bill will prevent them from conducting necessary experiments on animals.

scientist 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
scientist 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
Knesset Interior Committee Chairman MK Amnon Cohen assured Weizmann Institute of Science heads on Monday he would not allow a bill on wild animal protection to halt medical research.
Cohen visited the Rehovot campus and met with its deputy president, Haim Garty, and a number of leading scientists.
Speaking on behalf of the Inter-University Forum for Promoting Science, they expressed concern that the Environmental Protection Ministry’s bill to amend the Animal Protection Law would prevent them from conducting necessary experiments on animals.
The Weizmann scientists said the bill would prohibit the import of wild animals for medical experimentation if the research institution lacked special approval that would introduce a lot of red tape and take even several years for approval.
The scientists asked Cohen to make animals for medical experimentation an exception in the bill.
When Cohen asked them what they do to prevent animals’ suffering during medical experimentation, he said he was “impressed” to hear that monkeys are sent afterwards for “rehabilitation” in Ben-Shemen.
As preventing unnecessary suffering to animals is a rule in Judaism, everything must be done to find a proper balance between the continued advancement of medical research and reducing the suffering of animals, including the prevention of painful and unnecessary animal experiments, said the Shas MK.
“The description I heard, in which it takes two years to receive authorization to import a wild animal necessary for vital research, is not acceptable, and regulation must be reduced in this matter. But I agree with the spirit of the law and the intention to prevent unnecessary animal killing and suffering,” said the committee chairman.
“I am sure that my committee will find the middle way to allow us to behave as a moral and humane society regarding animals without causing serious harm to Israeli scientific research.”