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Legislation in Israel and Other Countries


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Overview

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Animal Welfare Legislation in Israel: The Animal Experimentation Law

 

 

 

In theory, animal experiments in Israel are regulated by the Animal Welfare (Animal Experimentation) Law, 1994. This law is largely based on voluntary guidelines set by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, whose aims include the promotion of "scholarly and scientific endeavor." Therefore, it is not surprising that the law mainly serves the interests of the powerful biomedical industry in Israel.

 

Under a 2007 amendment, animal tests for non-medicinal cosmetics and household cleaning products are banned, but not a single type of other animal experimentation is prohibited. Furthermore, animal experiments can be approved by each research institute or each company's own internal animal care and use committee, without so much as a permit from, or any review process by, the National Council.

 

This stands in stark contrast to the situation in most European countries. In the UK, Sweden, France, Switzerland, as well as many other countries, the authority to license an animal experiment lies with an external body — either a government agency (for example, the Home Office in the UK), or a public committee, where animal welfare interests are represented (for example, Sweden). Such external approval mechanisms afford a greater opportunity for animal welfare issues to be heard and considered.

 

The Israeli law is based on the American model, where internal care and use committees, rather than a theoretically objective external body, are authorized to permit specific experiments. For this reason, the American model is among the worst in the world, but the Israeli law went one step further. In the U.S., internal committees must include at least one representative of the public who has no other relation to the facility where the committee operates, but in Israel there is no such requirement. The vast majority of animal experiments in Israel are considered and approved by the vivisectors and their colleagues themselves, with little or no public accountability.

 

For further discussion of Israeli law, see Animal Welfare Legislation in Israel.

 

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