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Pro-Animal Caucus in the Knesset






Press Releases:

Demonstration at Knesset,
28 February 2012

28 November 06, Tali Lavie

28 November 06, Yoel Hasson,
Tali Lavie

Media Coverage:

1 March 2012

Knesset Channel, 28 Feb 2012

nrg, 28 Nov 06

Ynet, 28 Nov 06

Nfc, 28 Nov 06



Animal Legislation
in Israel

Preparing for a Disaster

Rescue in Northern Israel

Rescue in Gaza
& the West Bank

Pounds & Shelters




Knesset Member
Yoel Hasson


   MK Yoel Hasson Introduces Amendment to Animal Welfare Law Prohibiting Gambling on Animals, February 2012

   Founding of the Caucus



Draft law prohibiting gambling on animals

On 28 February 2012, the Knesset's Animal Protection Caucus, which is composed of MKs from across the political spectrum, supported Israel's Animal Rights Day by holding discussions about animal abuse and rescue. In addition to the caucus members, other Knesset members, Ministers, and representatives of government agencies and animal welfare organizations participated. Several important bills were presented, calling for the prevention of abuse and abandonment of animals, for the increase in spaying and neutering procedures, and for the prevention of gambling on sports that use animals.


MK Yoel Hasson, in cooperation with Hakol Chai, introduced the bill to prohibit gambling on animals. This would be an addition to Israel's Animal Welfare Law, stating specifically:  "A person may not exploit an animal for the purpose of gambling." Mr. Hasson spoke extensively about the abuse inherent in the horse racing industry. Here are excerpts from his speech, which was broadcast on the Knesset TV Channel:

Horse racing and gambling on horses...are the clearest example of animal abuse...anyone who knows what the horses go through in these competitions, before the race and after the race; anyone who knows the way these horses are treated in order to make them faster...they undergo mistreatment…really terrible things....what exactly does it contribute?...Is it amusement? Is abusing animals in this way pleasurable?


I want to support Amutat Hakol Chai, which is leading the fight against starting this thing called horse racing in Israel, or racing any other animals....There is no benefit to it, there is nothing in it that will make us a better society....once they bet on gladiators, on human beings fighting each other, and people bet on who would be left alive. We’ve stopped doing that, right?...There is nothing worse than this for the horse. Nothing...I hope this day will move us forward in everything to do with animal welfare in Israel, and that we will not be seeing horse racing in Israel.

For the full speech, see MK Yoel Hasson's Horse Racing Speech at Animal Rights Day at the Knesset


For Hakol Chai's banners in front of the Knesset on Animal Rights Day, see The Jockey Won; the Horse Died. Say "NO" to Horse Racing in Israel!




Founding of the Pro-Animal Caucus in the Knesset

"From today, animals also have a home in the Knesset," announced Knesset Member (MK) Yoel Hasson." They are also citizens of Israel, and they also deserve representatives who will speak for them."


The occasion, November 28, 2006, marked the inauguration of the first caucus (a group of Knesset Members who will promote legislation to the full Knesset) for animals in the history of the Israeli Parliament. The caucus was initiated on the recommendation of CHAI's sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai.


Hakol Chai's Director called the event "a day of celebration for animals in Israel." Among the founding caucus members were Members of Knesset Yoel Hasson, Dov Hanin, Moshe Kahlon, Michael Melchior, and Colette Avital. Representatives of the Environment and Agriculture Ministries were also in attendance at the first meeting.


At the suggestion of Hakol Chai, the first bill the caucus sought to pass was one that would provide for animals in disasters, to prevent the tragedies that occurred during the disengagement from Gaza and the West Bank and during the war between Israel and Hezbollah. A similar bill was passed in the U.S. Congress following Hurricane Katrina. Hakol Chai was active in rescuing and re-homing or finding new homes for animals during the disengagement and the war in northern Israel.


The first item discussed by the caucus, also at the suggestion of Hakol Chai, was the need to reform the municipal pounds. MK Hasson called the matter "essential and urgent."



Dogs in quarantine      Photo: Ynet


"Our dog pound is disgusting," one municipal veterinarian reported to Hakol Chai. "It looks as if it was built in the fifties. It is wide open and has no walls. It is very cold in the winter. When we arrive in the morning, we find dead puppies who did not survive the cold. It breaks our heart. We also have our share of thefts. I have 40 dogs who live crowded in five cages and a single employee. And there's no point in saying anything about the cat pound. They tried to make patches to block the rain, but it didn't really help." The veterinarian's testimony was read aloud to the dozens of people who attended the first meeting of the caucus.


"Grossly inadequate enclosures that provide no protection from the weather, puppies forced to lie on cold concrete, kittens on bare wire cages, dogs stolen and used in fights, animals doomed to live out their lives in small, overcrowded cages are only some of the terrible things that happen in these facilities," said Hakol Chai's Director.


According to the Veterinary Services, more than 100,000 animals are abandoned every year, and only ten percent of them are adopted. Municipal pounds take in 20–40,000 dogs annually. Few shelters or pounds in Israel provide accurate euthanasia statistics. No one wants to face the harsh reality.


"Until today, animal protection amounted to the random activity of some MKs who care," Hakol Chai told the caucus audience. "But this is an important issue that is relevant to large segments of the population — not just people who have animals, but everyone who believes that animals should be treated with dignity and compassion. The sad condition of the pounds is only one example of the terrible treatment animals receive in Israel. Precisely where the government should act as a role model, taking care of animals' welfare, it treats them worse than the citizens do."


"At some facilities," Hakol Chai's Director reported to the Knesset Members, "the conditions are shameful and disgraceful, but the staff is caring. In others, the conditions are relatively good, but the staff is not qualified to take care of animals, and is indifferent to their suffering."


Over the years, thanks to CHAI member Olive Walker, CHAI on its own and together with Israel's Veterinary Services, has sponsored professional training seminars for veterinarians and their staff at pounds and shelters, and produced and distributed a manual on the subject in Hebrew and English. The seminars, modeled after similar, routine professional training in the U.S., resulted in some reforms and were a model CHAI urged the Veterinary Services to follow.


"Such training is vital for anyone charged with taking care of animals at such facilities," said CHAI's Director, Nina Natelson. Lack of public spotlight on the situation, stubborn attitudes, and lack of funding prevented the training from becoming a requirement country wide - until the Knesset caucus.


Said caucus member Hasson, "I always had animals around me, and I love them. When I joined the Knesset, I was certain it dealt with this issue, but was surprised to find out that there is no group in it that deals with animal welfare. The new caucus will try to change this situation. Maybe in addition to dealing with the condition of the pounds, one of the first tasks will be to change the name of the animal protection law from 'Anti-Cruelty to Animals Law' to 'Animal Rights.' This is a semantic change, but it expresses our commitment to protect them.