Amendment to bill blocking experiments on animals fails

A proposed amendment to a bill proposed by Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar that would have seen new legislative action taken to prevent experimentation on animals for the purposes of testing cosmetic or cleaning products was rejected by the Knesset on Sunday morning. "They were proposing to make the law stricter," Chedva Vanvenvroucke, representative of the Jerusalem Society for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "What gives us the right to take advantage of other creatures so that we can be more beautiful?" she asked angrily. "The face of a dog or a rabbit is not like my face. Why should animals suffer for our sake?" The bill proposed to curb the importation of cosmetic and cleaning products that have been tested on animals in Israel in the past. In addition, Vanvenvroucke declared (with dogs perpetually barking in the background) that there are many other viable alternatives for the testing of cosmetic and cleaning products. Uri Yaffa, the chairman of NOAH, the umbrella organization for Israel's animal rights groups, sounded optimistic about Sunday's legislative proposal. "Almost all the ministers we have spoken to thus far seem to be in favor of the new law," an excited Yaffa told the Post on Sunday, before the proposal was rejected. "We hope the government passes it." But Yaffa's optimism was to no avail. The proposal was ultimately rejected, although it is being refiled by MK Eitan Cabel. While the cosmetic battle raged Sunday morning, a debate over whether or not to conduct animal experiments for academic purposes took place on Sunday evening at the Health Ministry. National Council for Experimentation on Animal Subjects, established as part of changes made to the 1994 Animal Welfare Law, met to decide the future of animal testing for scientific purposes in Israel. Despite a recent international decline in animal testing statistics, thousands of animals are still experimented on and killed here every year in the name of scientific and academic studies. Ehud Peleg, the legal adviser to NOAH, believes that "it is forbidden for scientists to use animals for achieving their goals." However, Peleg and NOAH faced steep competition from Israel's scientific community. "Scientists don't want limitations on their academic freedom," he said. Thus NOAH's and Peleg's proposition failed. However, the proposition that beat NOAH's proposal did not receive a sufficient number of votes to be ratified, either. Consequently, another vote will be held in the near future in an attempt to ratify the more popular proposal. He told the Post on Sunday that there is no need to conduct animal experiments when there are "many viable alternatives."