Strict amendments to the Animal Welfare Law, which was introduced by MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) and was merged with a government proposal, passed their second and third readings in the Knesset Plenum on Monday.

In accordance with the amendments,, which pertain to the application and enforcement of the law, owners or guardians of an animal are required to prevent abuse and to provide the animal its basic needs, and ordinances regarding the capture of animals and their return to their rightful owners will be improved and updated. The amendments also deal with the payment of expenses in the case of a captured animal and its care; harsher punishment for crimes committed under aggravated circumstances; responsibility of corporate officials who are in charge of animals to supervise and to act in order to prevent violations of the law by the corporation; as well as an ordinance regarding taking animal welfare into consideration when exercising authority in accordance with other laws related to the raising and taking care of animals and animal produce.

The accompanying notes to the proposal state that ”the essence of this law is to protect animals that are being held by humans and are under their responsibility, and to assure that when there comes a need to harm an animal, it is done for humane purposes alone and the harm is proportionate.”

MK Shmuli said, ”Enacting a law is the highlight of our work in the Knesset, but in light of what I have seen over the past couple of weeks, I just may be the saddest legislator you will see today. While it is true that we are taking an important step – and I do believe that the articles of this bill would stand as a solid wall, separating animals and those who wish to abuse then – when you look at the scope and brutality of animal abuse it fills you with complete despair. If there is anything that can bring me down, it`s this.”

MK Dov Khenin (Joint List): ”the brutality against animals is incomprehensible. Some abuse is just out of wickedness, but some stems from the interest of industries that use animals as produce.”

The third reading was supported by 84 MKs, and none opposed.