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December 2013  

CHAI's Humane Education Program for Arab Schools Expands

Religious Leaders Urge Students in Program to Stay Away From Animal Slaughter on the Annual Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha

  

  

 Religious leaders speaking to students about animal sacrifice at Arab schools in northern Israel

 

"Expanding the Circle of Compassion," CHAI's humane education program for Arab schools in Israel, has grown rapidly, from a pilot for 640 students to almost 4,000 students, and education officials requested that we further expand the program to all schools in the north of Israel and to all grades up to and including 7th grade. The program is being carried out by our sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai.
 
As part of the "Expanding the Circle of Compassion" program, a Druze Sheikh, a Christian priest, and a Muslim Imam spoke to students of all three faiths about the importance of respecting animals and treating them with empathy and compassion.
 
"Avoid slaughtering animals or witnessing the slaughter of animals on the annual Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, as it has a negative impact on the soul," Imam (religious leader) Ahmad Hasan, an attorney and head of the mosque in Shfar'am, Israel, advised elementary school students, school officials, and their parents. "Unlike some commandments in the Koran," the Imam explained, "the act of sacrificing an animal is not mandatory. The real meaning of the holiday and what is mandatory is to sacrifice the evil in us in order to bring joy to others."
 
Over 100 million animals are slaughtered on Eid al-Adha in Arab countries every year. Animal rights activists have criticized the cruelty that results from lack of regulation of the slaughtering. Classroom observers noted that 4th grade students who were forced to witness or participate in the slaughter were too upset to focus on their lessons, and counselors had to be called in to help. Witnessing or participating in violence at an early age can have a negative effect on children's psyches and lead to violence toward humans when children become adults, studies have shown. In the future, Hakol Chai will lead children in acts of charity.
 
The Festival of Sacrifice commemorates the story of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son for God. According to the story, the son was saved when God saw Abraham's faith and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. "God's message was not a call to slaughter animals, but rather a call to obey God," the Imam told students. "The ram was only a symbol. God had mercy and intervened so Abraham's son would not be killed. We are commanded to follow God in his mercy and have mercy on all forms of life."
 
Hasan called on students to love and respect all living beings and to refrain from causing them harm. He told stories from the Koran to illustrate that those who show mercy and compassion will be rewarded and will be shown God's mercy, while those who harm animals will be punished. The Imam also sang verses from the Koran about the lives of the smallest creatures—ants and bees—and explained their importance and their right to protection from even unintentional harm. He encouraged students to be charitable to members of their communities and to visit family and relatives so they will experience joy at feeling cared about. Hasan's family is vegetarian, and he points out that the Koran permits Muslims to be vegetarian.


 


Father Androus Bahouth, a Christian priest who spoke together with the Imam in one of the schools, told students that everything in nature is sacred and they are to respect and appreciate the beauty of every living being. Humans were created last, after all other living beings, he said, and we are responsible for and guardians of all the other life forms created before us.
 
He held up St. Francis and Noah as models for how we are to behave. St. Francis loved and cared for animals and was able to communicate with them. When the weather was cold, he worried about the bees and set out honey and wine for them. Father Bahouth also told the story of how Noah saved the animals during the great flood and saw to their individual needs.
 
After students in Hakol Chai's program complete a series of lessons that teach them about the intelligence, emotions, and abilities of animals, they undertake monthly projects to demonstrate that they have understood the concepts in the lessons and have incorporated the values taught into their daily lives. In the first of a series of projects, they research the needs of animals in their communities and decide on actions they will take to improve their lives. In addition, older students teach what they learned to younger students.
 
Questionnaires administered before and after the program have shown that it has had a significant, positive impact on students' attitudes toward animals in all the categories tested: appreciation of and respect for animals, their intelligence and emotions; willingness to care for animals, especially the hungry and abandoned, and provide them with veterinary care; desire to report and end animal abuse; willingness to live with animals in their homes; recognition that non-domesticated animals need to live with their social group, in their natural habitat, and have the freedom to exercise their natural abilities rather than live in captivity.
 
Students who were abusing animals have self-reported, expressed remorse, and promised to stop perpetrating cruel acts on animals. Other students said they will no longer tolerate abuse and reported fellow students who were abusing animals.
 
Please contribute to our work to instill humane values in Arab youth in Israel.


Hakol Chai Protests the Ministry of Sports and Culture's Decision to Permit Israelis to Gamble on Horse Racing in the U.K.
 

Gambling on horse racing within Israel is not legal, and Hakol Chai introduced a bill in the Knesset that would ban gambling on all sports involving animals. However, the Ministry of Sports and Culture gave permission to the Toto (Israel's Sports Betting Board) to allow Israelis to gamble on horse races outside of Israel, in England and Ireland.
 
Hakol Chai responded by organizing a protest on November 5th, 2013, in front of the Ministry of Sports and Culture. In connection with the protest, ten Knesset members sent a letter to Minister Limor Livnat, asking her to reverse her decision. Their letter stated that Israelis' gambling on horse racing abroad promotes the cruelties inherent in the racing industry regardless of in which country the races take place. Were these same cruelties performed in Israel, they would violate Israel's Animal Protection Law.
 


Demonstrators line the streets in front of the Ministry of Sports and Culture

 

The cruelties include: thousands bred annually, the few fastest picked out to race, most of the rest sent to slaughter (born to die); trained and raced at 2, when they are fastest, but before their bones have hardened, so they suffer catastrophic injuries and must be euthanized; bleeding in the lungs from being pushed beyond their limits, which can be fatal; chronic ulcers, heart attacks and more. Race horses typically end their careers at 6, when they are no longer fast enough to win races, and either go to slaughter or are sold from hand to hand in a downward spiral of abuse.

   


Posters representing tombstones of actual racehorses,
with their photos, date of death, age, and how they died

 

Israel has no place for the many abused, unwanted horses in the country now. If racing comes to Israel, it will have to build slaughterhouses to kill hundreds of healthy, young horses every year just because they are not fast enough to win races. Raising and keeping race horses requires an enormous amount of water, which Israel does not have. Israel can find other ways of earning money besides abusing animals.
 
Minister Livnat responded to the letter from the Knesset members by saying that Israel's Animal Protection Law does not apply to races held outside of Israel so the cruelties to horses in other countries are of no concern to Israelis. She attempted to excuse the cruelties on the grounds that money earned from gambling abroad will help promote sports in Israel, and she declined to reverse her decision.

Hakol Chai's demonstration was covered by four media channels. Hakol Chai will continue its campaign against gambling on horse racing coming to Israel, and against the misrepresentation of horse racing as a sport, instead of what it actually is—animal abuse.

 

   
Left: Hakol Chai representative Reut Reshef is interviewed by Ynet, an Israeli news site
Right: Demonstrators stand at a crosswalk to ensure that drivers see their message

 


Honoring Former Jaffa Cart Horse, Shabbat (Saturday),
Rescued by CHAI

 

CHAI honors the memory of former abused cart horse, Shabbat, who was rescued by CHAI and who passed away in November of this year.
 
One Saturday in June of 1999, his new life began. One of many work horses in Jaffa, the old part of Tel Aviv, he hauled a cart loaded with fruits and vegetables to and from the market. What little food he was given was mostly what remained of the unsold vegetables. On non-work days, he wasn't fed. Weak from hunger and malnourishment, he strained his body beyond its limits pulling the heavy load. Repeated falls caused deep wounds on his legs. He was beaten regularly and scars covered the length of his body.
 
His ill-fitting harness had pulled away the skin from under one foreleg and caused a painful sore on his shoulder. To prevent him from toppling the cart when on an incline, small blocks of wood were nailed to his cracked and broken hooves. Underneath the wood were fungus and blood clots. Every step he took was agony. Constant pulling of already overused muscles left him unable to lift his left hind leg properly when walking. Unwashed and kept in a filthy stall, he smelled of excrement.
 
CHAI rescued Shabbat from his life of horror and misery and brought him to a farm where he could graze on grass, receive treats like apples, and have fresh air, exercise, and friends. Most important, he was never forced to work again. Shabbat was around 6 years old at the time of his rescue, the veterinarian who treated him estimated and, thanks to your generous support, he enjoyed 15 years of freedom before he died.
 
Please help us honor Shabbat’s memory by donating to CHAI so we can rescue additional abused horses from lives of misery.

   

Saturday with Shai, also rescued

   

Joey, another rescue


Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic 

 

CHAI's mobile spay/neuter clinic's services, temporarily suspended
during the recession, will soon be offered again.
Please support this vital low-cost service for animals.


Help us spread the word about CHAI's work on behalf of Israel's animals. The more support we have, the more we can help animals.
 

Please send your generous, tax-deductible contributions to CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302 or donate through our website.

  

 

On behalf of the animals, we thank you!

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season.
May the New Year bring much progress for animals!


Yours for a more compassionate world,
 


Nina Natelson

 

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
 

PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302
Email: chai_us@cox.net
Phone: 703-658-9650
Web: http://www.chai-online.org