Israel and animal welfare

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Israel's protection of animal welfare rests upon the Animal Welfare Law, 1994 which is composed of an Animal Protection Law and an Animal Experimentation Law. The law was originally introduced by Abraham Poraz and passed by the Knesset on January 11, 1994. Other regulations under the Animal Protection Law include the Animal Welfare Fund (1995) and permit requirements for the organization of animal exhibitions and competitions (2001).

Four other laws are also related to animal welfare in Israel: Wildlife Protection Law, 1955; Animal Disease Ordinance, 1985; Dog Regulation Law, 2002; and the Rabies Regulations (Vaccinations), 2005.

Animal Welfare System[edit]

Israel's Minister of Agriculture is responsible for implementation of the law and the Minister of the Environment appoints trustees to file complaints against offenders. The law establishes an Animal Welfare Fund to promote education, information, and aid to animal welfare groups.[1][2] Around 3.5 million NIS (US$782,000 or €616,500) were allocated for animal welfare between 2005 and 2006.[3]

Projects include:

  • Education
  • Animal Welfare Trustees
  • Reduction of stray animals
  • Promotion of animal adoption
  • Assistance to the Israel Police
  • Response to public requests for assistance to animals in distress
  • Special projects
  • Aid to animal welfare organizations
  • Participation in Knesset discussions and protecting animals

Animal Experimentation Law[edit]

The Animal Experimentation law regulates animal experiments in Israel and creates a 23 member National Council for Animal Experimentation that may ban animal use if a "reasonable alternative" is available. Animal rights groups like CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel) believe this is rarely if ever done since alternatives have not been adequately explored. CHAI also believes that the law serves to protect the interests of university researchers, drug companies, and the government, but not the welfare of the animals.[citation needed]

The National Council for Animal Experimentation mandates that the smallest number of animal experiments be performed while mitigating animal suffering. Researchers are also required to take courses in animal care, and surprise visits to research labs are conducted to enforce compliance.[4]

Other laws[edit]

Wildlife Protection Law, 1955[edit]

The law was introduced to meet the standards of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and prohibits hunting wild animals with traps, snares, nets, and poisons.[5]

Animal Disease Ordinance, 1985[edit]

Dog Regulation Law, 2002[edit]

The law requires licenses for all dogs three months of age or older, mandates microchip implants for dogs, and routine vaccination against rabies. The law also covers importing and keeping of dangerous dogs.[5]

Rabies Regulations (Vaccinations), 2005[edit]


In 1994, a new law enforcement policy was enacted to help reduce animal cruelty with police stations instructed to investigate reports. An education program in the schools was also initiated, with a proposed one hour-a week class discussion.[6]


Israel has banned the following: dissections of animals in elementary and secondary schools (optional participation in dissection at university level is allowed); performances by trained animals in circuses; and the production of foie gras. Of the three, the last is significant because Israel was previously the world's fourth biggest producer of foie gras, but it gave up this major source of income for ethical reasons.[7] The state also bans killing any animal by poison, forcing a physically unfit animal to work, and working any animal to exhaustion.[1]

Although Israel has never had a whaling industry, it has joined the International Whaling Commission in order to vote against any resumption of commercial whaling.[8]

Animal rights activism[edit]

In May, 2001, eight alleged animal rights activists sent a faxed death threat to immunologist and former dean Shraga Segal of Ben Gurion University medical school, targeting Segal and his family. The threat was made after Segal appeared on a television talk show about animal experimentation with Likud party member Dani Naveh. Segal, a member of the National Council for Animal Experimentation, objected to Naveh's proposal to increase the number of animal rights/animal welfare activists on the council, whom at the time represented three out of 23 academic members. Naveh called for expanding the number of activists from a third to a half of the council.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Israel Ministry of Agriculture: Veterinary Services Cruelty to Animals Law, 1994 (English).
  2. ^ Amendments to the Cruelty to Animals Law, December 2005 (English)
  3. ^ Ministry of Environmental Protection. (October 2, 2005). Environment Minister Simhon Allocates an Additional Million Shekels for Animal Welfare. Retrieved July 22, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Watzman, Haim. (May 18, 2001). "Israeli Researcher Receives Death Threat".The Chronicle of Higher Education 47.36.
  5. ^ a b Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection. Legal Framework for Animal Welfare
  6. ^ Natelson, Nina. (Nov-December 1994). "Progress for animals in Israel." The Animals' Agenda 14.n6 : 36(1).
  7. ^ Israel enforces foie gras ban
  8. ^ Whale Survival at Stake in War Over Commercial Whaling