2015-11-11 / Mideast

Minister backpedals on deporting felines

Israeli Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel has backpedaled on his controversial recommendation that Israel’s population of stray cats be transferred to a foreign country in order to control their numbers in a way that accords with Jewish law.

In response to the mass derision of his recommendation, Ariel has maintained his decision that the Environmental Protection Ministry will no longer spend its budget on spaying and neutering stray animals. However, the money will now be spent on research into the stray animals instead of a population transfer, Haaretz reported. The neutering budget amounts to 4.5 million Israeli shekels annually, or approximately $1.1 million.

Ariel provoked fierce criticism and mockery after he sent a letter to Israel’s environmental protection minister arguing that a population transfer of Israel’s stray cats to a foreign country was a way of controlling their numbers more in line with Jewish law than neutering them. Ariel based his conclusion on the biblical commandment to “go forth and multiply in the land of Israel,” Ynet reported. (JTA)

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