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WORLD FARM ANIMALS DAY 2005, Israel

October 2nd (birthday of Mahatma Gandhi) is an international day in which people are conscience-bound to mourn and memorialize the pointless suffering and death of billions of sentient animals in farms and slaughterhouses all around the world.

This year in Israel, animal rights activists organized a funeral procession through the streets of Tel Aviv, carrying three black coffins: one marked for the victims of the meat industry, another for milk and a third for eggs (the number of animals killed for food in Israel is estimated at over 300 million a year).

Wearing black clothes, carrying remembrance candles and banners encouraging vegetarianism and an end to violence towards sentient beings, between 150 and 200 activists gathered at Dizengoff Square in the afternoon hours and marched through the city center, handing out hundreds of flyers to passers by.

The march ended with a ceremonial eulogy near Tel Aviv's Museum of Art. With torches by his sides and a big "Meat is Murder" banner draped behind him, an activist delivered a heartfelt eulogy - talking, among other things, of the Jewish Holocaust - pleading for the senseless suffering of animals to cease. In front of him, dozens of people with cow masks on their faces laid down on the square, symbolizing the countless dead victims of the food industry.

After the march, activists organized an impromptu demonstration outside a nearby McDonald's for another 45 minutes, with dozens of people holding signs and banners and chanting slogans through bullhorns.

All in all, it was a successful event, with good planning and a surprisingly large attendance - especially by Israeli standards. The one drawback was, perhaps, a lack of significant media attention, but in a place like Israel, with its turbulent political and military climate, we have to come to expect this regarding issues of non-human animals.

However, on this very day, the efforts of animal rights activists were rewarded in a different way: two years after Israel's High Court ruled the practice that enlarges the liver of geese for gastronomical purposes unlawful, and after Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz failed to enlist a majority in the Cabinet for his proposal to continue this practice, force-feeding of geese in Israel has been finally banned - on the morning of the 2nd of October 2005: World Farm Animals Day.
 
In August 2003 (almost a decade since the beginning of the campaign against foie gras in Israel), the High Court upheld a petition filed by the Israeli Association of Animal Protection Groups to halt force-feeding methods approved by the Agriculture Ministry. The court instructed Agriculture Minister Katz to submit new regulations by March 2005, which would significantly reduce the suffering of the fowl, which under the standard practice severely impedes the goose's movements and renders it incapable of independent movement. However, the Agriculture Ministry did not manage to formulate new regulations in the time allotted (due to the fact that is it, of course, impossible to create foie gras without extremely cruel treatment of geese).

Agriculture Minister Katz's then submitted a proposal calling for fowl to be written out of legislation limiting cruelty to animals (in an ugly, undemocratic attempt to circumvent the High Court ruling, not to mention a blatant disregard for the Israeli public, of whom more than 70 percent oppose force-feeding geese and fowl). This proposal, already rejected by the cabinet subcommittee on legislation three weeks ago, failed to gain support in the cabinet, and force-feeding geese is finally illegal in Israel.

Israel is - or rather was - one of the world's leading foie gras producers, and approximately 800,000 geese suffered immensely and died in Israel every single year at the hands of this barbaric industry (this figure is even higher than that of animals killed yearly by Israeli vivisectors).

The World Farm Animal's Day action was organized by the Israeli animal rights group SHEVI (initials of "Animal Liberation Israel").

To visit their website, please go to:
http://www.shevi.org.il/