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Israeli Agriculture Minister Has Boneheaded Plan for Strays

Rather than spay or neuter stray cats and dogs, Uri Ariel wants to export them to other countries.

Michael Leaverton  |  Nov 13th 2015


Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel recently found himself enamored of a boneheaded idea for dealing with his country’s stray cat and dog problem.

His idea is basically: Send ’em somewhere else!

Actually, that’s not just his idea basically, that’s his idea wholly. He wants to solve the problem of stray cats and dogs by sending those stray cats and dogs to other countries.

Hey! Stray problem solved!

But, you might be thinking: Where will the money come from, to send all of these thousands of dogs and cats to some other country … thattaway?

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The agriculture minister has your answer: Take all that money in the budget for spaying and neutering stray cats and dogs — and use that.

He detailed his plan in a letter to a colleague, and it was leaked to the press, according to Reuters. He wrote, “Use the budget to transfer stray dogs and/or cats of one gender (all the males or all the females) to a foreign nation that will agree to accept them.”

Fortunately, his proposal was rejected, animal activists criticized him, and local politicians made fun of him, which was a nice thing to see.

“No way am I going to apply for a foreign passport for Pitzkeleh,” tweeted former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, referring to her kitty.

As outrage over his plan grew, Ariel softened his stance.

“Kindly place the cats’ visas back in your pockets, we are not flying them anywhere,” he said at a conference of kibbutz leaders in Maaleh Hahamisha, west of Jerusalem, according to Israel national news site Arutz Sheva.

But the fact remains that Ariel opposes spaying and neutering strays because he believes it violates the Jewish precept of avoiding tza’ar ba’aley hayim, or cruelty to animals.

“We have made an effort to avoid tza’ar ba’aley hayim as much as possible, and we are looking for other ways not to neuter and spay them, which constitutes tza’ar ba’aley hayim in and of itself,” he told Arutz Sheva.

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He is also against clipping cats ears to indicate the animal has been sterilized.

“I deal with the issue of not causing pain to animals no less, and possibly more, than previous ministers of agriculture,” he said.

According to Arutz Sheva, there is currently budget of more than $1.1 million allotted to spaying and neutering street animals. Let’s hope nobody else gets a boneheaded idea to use it for something else.

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