Almost none of the fines levied on animal abusers by the Government of Israel are ever collected as the Likud-led government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to ignore its own blackletter law.
Corruption: Israel’s Law Against Animal Cruelty Rarely Enforced, Fines Issued But Almost Never Collected
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Almost none of the fines levied on animal abusers end up being deposited into a special animal welfare fund even though doing so has mandated by law for the past 20 years, Ha’aretz reported.
In 2013 the government levied $268,400 in fines in 225 cases of people found guilty of violating Israel’s Cruelty to Animals Law, according the government’s own figures released in honor of Animal Rights Day three months ago.
But Ha’aretz reports that it turns out that just $12,351 dollars actually was paid into the fund – only 4.6% of the total levied.
The year before, in 2012 the fund received only about $3,700 in income from these fines.
Why such a low amount of money?
Because, the Agriculture Ministry says, most of the levied fines are never collected.
That angers animal welfare activists and the fund's head.
“In principle, the fund is supposed to be a self-supporting system. In practice, revenues are negligible compared to expenses,” the fund’s head, Gali Davidson, said.
Davidson also heads the Environmental Protection Ministry’s animal welfare department. She said she doesn’t understand why such a small fraction of the levied fines are collected and paid into the fund.
“I’m left here with one big question − where is the money?” Davidson said.
The fund is supposed to educate the public about proper treatment of animals and related issues, and fund local pounds and animal rescues.
The Agriculture Ministry blames the Enforcement and Collection Authority for the low collection rate while at the same time claiming that the pitiful collection rate noted above is nonetheless an improvement over what has taken place previously.
Both animal welfare groups and the Environmental Protection Ministry are reportedly critical of the Agriculture Ministry, noting that he ministry has a built-in conflicts of interest and sides with farmers, slaughterhouses and big agriculture far more often than with the abused animals. They also claim it is slow to issue regulations under the Cruelty to Animals Law and that is enforcement is lax – all things previous reporting would seem to confirm.
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz wants to transfer responsibility for enforcing the Cruelty to Animals Law to his ministry and animal welfare groups support the idea.
Seven months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set up a committee to look into the transfer of authority.
But that committee has met only twice.
Even so, it is scheduled to issue its recommendations in the near future.