Animal welfare campaigners can count on Israel’s support

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I share the concern of Michael Maas for the plight of circus animals.

I travelled to Cheshire to take part in a peaceful, good-humoured protest against the ill-treatment of Annie, an elderly circus elephant with arthritis who had been beaten repeatedly. The protests were successful, Annie was rehomed, but circus animals continue to lead lives of acute deprivation in this country, as in so many others.

There are many, many arguments in defence of Israel and against boycotts of Israel. People with an interest in animal welfare might like to consider these facts.

Israel was one of the first countries to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, in 1995. Israeli society strongly opposes the fur trade.

People in Israel have been working to introduce the most-far reaching anti-fur trade laws in the world. Israel used to be the world’s fourth largest producer of foie gras, but production was banned for ethical reasons. Israel has even banned the dissection of animals in primary and secondary schools. Vegan members of the Defence Force are given vouchers for vegan food and can have boots made with synthetic material.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where there’s intense concern for animal rights/animal welfare. Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East, with a free press and free media. In Israel, homosexuality is legal. In Gaza, homosexuality is illegal, punished with imprisonment for up to ten years. In Gaza, an unmarried woman who has a child can be imprisoned for six years. The Pew Research Center carried out extensive surveys of Palestinian opinion in 2013. Some of the very disturbing results: 84% support for stoning to death for adultery, 87% support for the view that ‘a wife must always obey her husband.’

Paul Hurt

by email