Israel Supports Animal Rights With Ban Against Cosmetics, Cleaning Materials Testing

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel --- January 1, 2013 ... Perhaps it was the dark, Jewish experience of the Holocaust where Nazis would use Jewish children for medical tests. Or simply the humanitarian heart that Israel is respected for with its medical and rescue aid teams which assist disaster victims from Haiti to Japan. As of today, the sale and import of cosmetics and cleaning materials tested on animals will be illegal in Israel. The Israel Health Ministry said it would investigate and prosecute importers who violate the new law.

"This law is a genuine revolution in the field of animal rights in Israel," said Member of Knesset Eitan Cabel (Labor), who leads the Knesset caucus for animal rights. "We came a long way in the last Knesset regarding attitude changes in this matter."

Israeli Health Ministry spokespeople said that animal-tested products that are already on store shelves from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem to Kfar Sava, Netanya and Eilat will not be removed by the end of 2012, but importers will be required to get permits from the Health Ministry for every cosmetic or cleaning product they import.

"It's impossible to remove from thousands of shelves products that have already been sold to retailers, but the Health Ministry hopes that within a short time it will be possible to completely prevent animal-tested cosmetics from entering Israel," said a source in Cabel's bureau.

Israel already bans animal testing for cosmetics and cleaning products from taking place within the small, democratic nation. Under a 2007 law, Israel will now be joining the European Union in banning the sale and import of cosmetics tested on animals. The European Parliament enacted its ban in March 2004.

Israel's import ban specifically targets products that are not intended for health purposes and also includes exceptions for products for which animal testing began prior to 2010.

The new animal right's law in Israel also gives importers a year to continue selling animal-tested products, if the importer states that the manufacturer was unable to find any other solution and the Israel Health Ministry validates the claim. The law stipulates that this transition period can be extended until early 2016.

In explaining the reason for the ban, the new law states that "the animal testing conducted in the course of cosmetics development entails causing animals great suffering and is done without painkillers."

Between 2,000 and 3,000 animals are used in the process of developing every cosmetic or cleaning product that involves animal testing, according to the explanatory section of the new law.

Israel, which has one of the highest rates world wide for dog and cat ownership, recently aired a documentary on Israel TV documenting animal abuse in some of the country's largest dairy companies. A hidden video showing cattle being prodded and beaten left many Israelis with disgust, announcing they are not planning to continue buying the kosher beef from Tnuva’s state-of-the-art Beit Shean slaughterhouse in protest.

Dr. Bidda Jones, a senior veterinarian at Australian animal rights organization RSPCA, said that the exposé’s footage illustrated a severe case of animal cruelty and violated the standards set by global animal health organization OIE, to which Israel had vowed to comply.

“The workers are deliberately inflicting pain on injured animals in order to get them to move,” she said in the report. “If this facility was in Australia the community would expect the government to shut it down.”

In Israel, Israel Police along with the Israel Ministry of Agriculture have launched an investigation.

Animal rights groups in Israel are also trying to put a stop to a pre-Yom Kippur custom observed primarily by ultra-religious Jews. According to the practice, on the day before Yom Kippur a chicken is waved over the heads of the repentant three times, symbolically transferring the sins from the person to the chicken. The chicken is then slaughtered. One can see this ritual taking place in major cities including Jerusalem, Ra'anana and Hadera.

A US animal rights group based in Brooklyn, New York entitled End Chickens as Karparos, estimates that in Brooklyn alone, 50,000 animals are involved each year, and many more die before being able to be used in the religious ritual.



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