The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has greenighted an amendment proposal suggested diverting the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Law (1994) from the Agriculture Ministry to the Environmental Protection Ministry.
Agriculture Minister Orit Noked said she will appeal the decision, which was carried 10:3.
"There is an innate conflict of interest between the Agriculture Ministry
and the basics of protection animal welfare,"
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan told the committee.
"The law, as it is today, reflects the need to responsibly balance various interests and values, such as protecting the public's health, maintaining agricultural needs and preventing diseases.
"The Agriculture Ministry is the only entity with the professional knowledge and authority to deal with such matters," she said.
The amendment was proposed by MKs Alex Miller, David Rotem and Lוa Shemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu),
along with MKs Carmel Shama (Likud),
Dov Khenin (Hadash), Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Labor's Eitan Cabel and Raleb Majadele.
"There is much lacking in the way animal welfare laws are enforced in Israel,"
the proposal said. "Animal are the weakest population in Israel and the State failed to duly protects them.
The Knesset members also criticized the fact that the Agricultural Ministry held all major enforcement authorities on the matter, saying that the "basic financial nature of the Agricultural Ministry creates a conflict of interest."
The proposal also stresses that transferring responsibility to the Environmental Protection Ministry, "Will enhanced the protection of animals in Israel and help make the enforcement mechanism more efficient."
"Society is measure by how it treats its weakest members. Animals are essentially helpless and are currently devoid the protection they deserve. We are willing and ready to assume this great responsibility, look out for animal welfare and pursue all legal recourse against those who abuse them."
Animal rights groups in Israel welcomed the initiative, saying the bill is "one of the most important amendments to the Animal Welfare Law since it went on the books."
"We welcome the fact that the government did not remain indifferent to the gross injustice of leaving this law's enforcement to the Agriculture Ministry," the Let Animals Live group said.