Roundup: Israel to soon ban fur trade despite decade-long obstruction from int'l industry

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JERUSALEM, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Israel is finally moving through the last step of banning the fur trade inside the country, despite more than a decade of obstruction from the global fur industry against such unprecedented legislation.

The punishment for breaking the law will be a fine of up to 75,000 new shekels (22,047 U.S. dollars) or a year in prison.

On Sunday, Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel called on "all countries to join" Israel to "show benevolence and act kindly toward animals."

"The global fur industry causes the murder of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and involves indescribable cruelty and suffering. Utilizing the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral," she said.

The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) has said the proposed amendment to the government legislation is open until Oct. 25 for public comments, which will be reviewed before the implementation of the ban on the fur trade.

"Nowadays, there are many alternatives that are less harmful to animals and more environmentally friendly. We believe those alternatives should be chosen," said Gali Davidson, director of animal welfare department at MoEP.

Over the years, there has been intense international pressure to prevent Israel from passing the bill, Davidson noted.

Jane Halevy, founder of the International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC), told Xinhua that IAFC, in collaboration with members of the Israeli parliament (Knesset), began in 2009 to promote the idea of enacting a bill that will ban the sale of fur.

Ronit Tirosh, a former member of Knesset, favored Halevy's idea and made the first attempt to pass a bill against the fur trade, but all the efforts from 2009 until 2012 failed despite public support for banning fur trade in Israel.

"When we first introduced the bill to ban the fur trade in Israel, trappers of the fur industry from countries such as the United States threatened me, saying if IAFC did not stop promoting the bill, they would skin me alive as they do to animals," Halevy said.

After Tirosh's party lost the elections in 2013, Halevy continued to promote her idea of the anti-fur bill along with several other politicians. None of them had succeeded in passing the bill until the sudden announcement of Gamliel and MoEP on Sunday.

It is worth noting that several main cities in Ireland, Britain, the United States, Australia and Brazil also managed to pass similar laws banning the sale of fur with the help of IAFC.

"The goal is to continue the global ripple effect momentum of banning blood fashion from city to city, country to country and from the horrible fur farms to the luxury shops and everything in between too, and make the fur industry a shameful chapter in the history of humankind," said Mitzi Ocean, global coordinator of IAFC. Enditem

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