Monday, March 15, 2010

Encouraging Signs from Israel: The Earth's First Fur-Free Nation?

(Above: A video from the Anti-Fur Coalition, one of the groups campaigning for a fur-free Israel.)

What a thrill it is to see that Israel is leading the way in the struggle to end the fur trade. There is currently a bill in the Israeli Knesset that, if passed, will ban the fur trade in Israel. If all goes according to plan, Israel might be the first nation on earth to ban the fur trade. A fur-free Israel. My, but that has a wonderful ring to it!

Our comrades in Israel have made great strides, thanks to such organizations as Anonymous for Animals and other groups that are on the forefront of the global struggle for animal rights. The fact that Israel has a thriving democracy makes it possible for animal rights groups to exercise great influence.

The group Anonymous for Animals, based Tel-Aviv, chose their name, according to their website, "out of deep solidarity with the suffering of those sentient beings, without name or identity, known to us only in their unimaginable numbers, who are subjected to systematic abuse. They are imprisoned in laboratories, circuses, municipal pounds - but above all: in factory farms. They are all anonymous. They all need our help."

Thanks to such groups, Israel has very stringent animal welfare and protection laws. Animal dissection is banned in public schools. Circuses are not allowed to force trained animals to perform for audiences. And the highly controversial dish foie gras has been outlawed in Israeli restaurants.

Paul McCartney, musician, singer, animal rights activist and vegetarian, is praising Israel for leading the way in the struggle against the fur trade. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quotes McCartney's Website as saying:
"By banning such a cruel industry Israel would provide a shining example in care and compassion that others would be sure to follow." (Source)
I also quote Michal Lewin-Epstein's excellent column on Huffington Post:
A survey, commissioned by the International Anti-Fur Coalition and Let the Animals Live, conducted immediately after the February 2009 media investigation, showed that 86% of Israelis believe killing animals for fur is immoral. Moreover, nearly 80% back a bill calling for ban of fur trade in Israel. This media exposure and public support, together with the long-standing joint efforts of the International Anti-Fur Coalition and the Israeli organization Let the Animals Live, recently pressured Israeli Members of Knesset to endorse a law that would limit or eliminate the fur trade in Israel.

If this anti-fur bill is approved in the Knesset - and many seasoned political observers believe it will be - Israel will be the first fur-free country in the world. Israel, as Paul McCartney points out, will lead the way in the struggle for animal rights. This has a lot to do with the country's pluralistic democracy, which allows advocates for animals to fight the good fight without any repression or hindrances from the government. And if Israel goes fur free, this will be a huge, huge victory - and an example for all other nations.

The International Anti-Fur Coalition has been one of the groups involved in the struggle to ban fur in Israel. They're a great group and they have a lot of support among the Israeli people. I will let them have the final say:

Israel takes a giant step, approving expansion on anti-fur bill to include all animals

The Israeli Government approves unanimously a bill that brings Israel one step closer to becoming the first fur-free country

In one of the most important achievements in the combined efforts of the ‘International Anti-Fur Coalition’ and ‘Let the Animals Live’ in their endeavors to protect fur bearing animals, the ministerial committee for legislative affairs accepted their request and approved unanimously the expansion on MK Ronit Tirosh’s bill. The bill prohibiting originally only the trade of cat and dog fur and was approved on its first reading; has been expanded by amendment to include all fur from all mammals. The ban includes an exception on specific fur hats worn by a few people for cultural identity. This bill is a global and historic precedent.

The total ban on all fur from all animals in addition circumvented the anticipated complexity that would have behooved the customs authority in distinguishing the animal of origin of each particular fur item.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon and Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Arden addressed the Ministerial Committee with the assistance of Minister of Education, Gideon Saar. Jane Halevy of the International Anti-Fur Coalition and attorney Joshua Rotbert, legal adviser of Let the Animals Live are the ones that initiated the matter with the help of MK Nitzan Horowitz via bringing to the government’s attention the cruel truth behind the needless fur trade.

Now that the legislative committee unanimously approved the amendment, the Education, Culture and Sports Ministry committee will hold a vote on the amendment later in the month and following their approval the bill will be put to a second and then third reading before finally being passed into law. The vast majority are hopeful that the Israeli government will continue on the path to end needless animal cruelty.

No comments:

Post a Comment