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Animal welfare - - Making of
Public Policy and The Role of
The Supreme Court - The
Israeli Experience
Eran Ettinger, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Israel
THE ECONOMIC AND TRADE IMPLICATIONS OF POLICY
RESPONSES TO SOCIETAL CONCERNS
OECD WORKSHOP 2-3/NOVEMBER 2009
1
Animal Welfare (Protection of
Animals) Act – 1994
Article
2(a): A person shall not
torture an animal, be cruel to an
animal or abuse an animal in any way;
Article 19: when issuing regulations,
the Minister of Agriculture shall take
“agricultural needs” into account;

2
1997 - The Case of "fights"
Between a Man and an Alligator
Supreme court: Article 2(a) of the Animal Welfare
Act include three components:
A.
factual - causing suffering to animals;
mental - awareness of the nature of the actions;
C. legal - absence of necessity. Check is based on 3
components:
The
purpose,
the
mean,
proportionality between purpose and mean;
B.
3
The Supreme Court Ruled:
"Fights" between a man and an alligator for
amusement purpose are prohibited
The purpose – amusement - doesn’t justify the
suffering (even it’s not severe);
4
2003 - The Case of force-feeding of
geese and ducks


Raising animals, including Long accepted
agricultural practices, falls under the
provisions of the Animal Welfare law;
In every given case, the relevant
“agricultural needs” should be weighed
against the suffering inflicted on the
animal, as well as the type of suffering
and its severity.

5
The Supreme Court Ruled:
 The
Force-Feeding Geese Regulations
deviate significantly from the
purpose of the law. It has given
excessive importance to the interest
of “agricultural needs” and too little
importance to animal welfare.
Therefore the regulations are
annulled;
6
2009 - The Case of Laying Hen
The egg-laying industry –
1.
Covered by an overall planning framework
[quotas, guaranteed price for farmers,
regulated price for consumers];
2.
High percentage of small & not efficient
enough growers;
3.
Mostly long-standing enclosures with
insufficient veterinary, health and environmental
standards.
7
Investment support for relocating
and rebuilding eggs enclosures
Began in 2009. Original purposes are:
I.
Wide-ranging adjustment of veterinary,
health and environmental requirements;
II.
A significant enlargement of eggproduction units;
III.
Relocation of farms at new areas out of the
villages in order to enable farmers to
develop other sources of employment;
8
Original purposes [continuation]
IV.
V.
Subsidy will be reduced gradually and will
come to an end in 2012;
Reduction of the regulated price for the
farmers;
Total investment in the reform is estimated to be 145 million
EUR (USD 214 million), of which the government will
cover 70 million EUR
9
And what about animal welfare?
 The
original reform has take into
account the animal welfare aspect
only marginally;
 NGO’S forced the government to
consider and check seriously the
necessity of an improvement on the
farm level;
10
Animal welfare at the laying-hen
industry
A professional committee learned and
checked the common growing systems
through 6 major considerations –
11
Major considerations
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Welfare of the hens at different growing
systems;
Veterinary aspects - disease prevention;
Health requirements - eggs pollution;
Environmental – pollution of soil & water;
Area size needed;
Economic aspects - investment needed
and influence on consumer price;
12
Government decision
Base on the recommendations of the
committee, government decided:
 To
see the EU Directive as a guideline and
reference;
 Not
to prohibit the use of battery-cages
system, but to enlarge the hen’s space
and add other facilities;
13
Government decision [continuation]
stage of the improvement plan would
be implement through incentives
(investment support);
 First
 Only
Second stage by compelling
regulations;
 To
wait and learn from the European
experience of implementation the EU
directive;
14
New NGO’S Petition to the
Supreme Court
 NGO’S
applied to the Supreme Court
and request to stop the reform till the
parliament will force the government
to legislate regulations that will
prohibit battery-cage system.
The petition is being arbitrated in these
days.
15
Comments and Questions
The Issue is a typical societal concern:
 Bottom-up
process;
 Strongly
moved by lobbing groups;
 Different
ethical views;
 Lack
of agreed scientific knowledge;
16
Some major Questions

What are the pro’s&con’s of each way:
improvement of the laying-hen industry by
government incentives or by compelling
regulations?
[Or maybe we have to let the market talk?]

What Is the right arena to take the decisions?
The Government? The parliament?

What is the right role of the court in policy
making? Process control? Ruling among
values?
17
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