Demonstrators demand harsher punishments for animal abusers, an end to shipments of live animals, barring sales of furs in Israel, increasing budget for neutering and spaying and an end to killing healthy animals at shelters and pounds.
Thousands of people took part in a march to promote animal rights in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, with activists from all over the world joining their Israeli counterparts.
The march, under the title “It’s in our hands,” seeks to “convey a message of compassion and caring towards any and all animals,” according to organizers.
But demonstrators had some concrete demands as well: harsher punishments for animal abusers, an end to shipments of live animals, prohibition on the sale of furs in Israel, an increase the budget for neutering and spaying of cats and dogs and an end to the killing of healthy animals in shelters and pounds.
Demonstrators carried signs with a variety of slogans and demands, including “Stop shipments of live animals,” “Don’t be two-faced, let animals live,” “No more animal testing,” a drawing of a calf with “Why did you take my mother?” written above it, and more.
At Rabin Square, the demonstrators held a rally hosted by TV presenter Miki Haimovich, a prominent animal rights activist. Other celebrity participants included musicians Alma Zohar and Geva Alon.
The main speakers at the rally were Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and international animal rights activist James Aspey.
Organizations like Vegan Friendly, Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let the Animals Live also participated.
Omri Paz, the founder of Vegan Friendly and one of the organizers of the march, explained that “if tens of thousands of people come to the square and people go out on the streets—that in itself is very important and effective. Immense harm is done to animals on a daily basis, and most of the time people sit at home and write a post here, like a page there. We want people to be more active, to realize it’s in their hands, to protest and shout because the animals can’t make their voices heard. It’s up to us.”
Attorney Shira Herzno, the spokeswoman for Anonymous for Animal Rights and another one of the organizers, added, “We expect the biggest march in history done by people who simply care. Compassion and caring towards animals is something that’s in all of our hearts.”
She went on to discuss the shipments of live animals, saying, “In 2016 alone, more than half a million animals were crammed into ships for the arduous journey here. It’s terrible. It makes many stop eating animals. Even those who still eat meat oppose those shipments.”