"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Knesset Kicking Tuchas for Animals

Last week, Israel's Knesset signed a Declaration of Animal Rights, reading:
Out of an ethical recognition of the fact that animals undergo unlimited experiences ... suffering and pleasure, fear and joy ... I think we, as human beings and as a society, are obligated to act to defend their basic rights. These rights include, among other things, the right not to suffer from violence, from hunger or from thirst.

Haaretz reports that the Knesset cafeteria marked the occasion by not serving any meat for the day. As part of a special focus on animal issues that day, two members of Knesset submitted a proposal to have animal rights groups monitor animal experiments in Israel and another proposed, in the Haaretz article's words, "making it illegal to kill animals for inappropriate purposes."

All this follows last month's unanimous approval by the Knesset of a proposal to review current laws pertaining to vivisection. Focus on the issue followed an uproar over alleged abuse of monkeys and cats at the Weizmann Institute of Science (which has now been the subject of animal rights campaigns in both Israel and the U.S.). In a YNet article, MK Israel Hasson (the chair of the Animal Rights Lobby) said, "It is worthwhile to investigate the supervision issue, to verify that current experiments do not cause suffering to animals, and use all available technology to limit suffering, but also to ensure that the experiments will be concentrated and supervised from start to finish." The article also quoted MK Eitan Cabel:
[W]hen we talk about experimenting on animals, this does not mean that we place animal life above that of human beings. He who does not care for animal life also does not care about human life.

I do not feel that the establishment is doing all that is required of it to ensure that necessary experiments are carried out responsibly, under proper supervision and with minimal harm to the animal subject. The time has come for this issue to be dealt with in an organized, coherent manner.

Kudos to the Knesset for taking a critical look at and taking action on these important issues. It's always a source of pride when Jewish values of compassion are acted upon instead of ignored!


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