(ANIMAL RIGHTS/ANIMAL WELFARE) From Israel to Canada, animal rights and welfare activists had many reasons to celebrate this past year. Here is a look at some of the big victories for animals in 2013. — Global Animal

1. China Relaxes Animal Testing Requirements

Chinese scientists learn a new method that will replace a cruel eye irritation test used on rabbits. Photo Credit: PETA
Chinese scientists learn a new method that will replace a cruel eye irritation test used on rabbits. Photo Credit: PETA

Despite the country’s negative role in the illegal ivory trade and its thriving bear bile industry, there was at least one piece of positive news to come from China in 2013.

China’s Food and Drug Administration announced starting June 2014, the People’s Republic will allow domestic cosmetic producers to bypass animal testing and use other data to demonstrate that their products are safe for human use.

China is currently the only country in the world where animal testing is required if cosmetic producers want to tap into the $32 billion Chinese cosmetic market. Since this relaxation of animal testing requirements only applies to domestic companies, foreign companies must still test on animals if they wish to sell their products in China. It’s not a total victory, but a positive step nonetheless.


2. Israeli Prime Minister Sees the Light

Activists demonstrating against the force-feeding of geese and ducks. Photo by Moti Kimche
Israeli activists demonstrate against the force-feeding of geese and ducks for foie gras. Photo Credit: Moti Kimche

In early October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a cabinet meeting, “I read the book ‘A Brief History of Humankind’ by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari and understood that animals are more conscious than we thought, which is bothering me and making me think twice.”

Following that October meeting, Netanyahu released a statement that said the Prime Minister and his wife, “hardly eat meat.” More substantially, Netanyahu established a committee to study the possibility of giving the the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry the power to enforce animal cruelty laws.

At the moment, this power belongs to the Israeli Agriculture Ministry, which also serves the interests of animal-owning farmers.


3. England Bans Wild Animals in Circuses

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The UK banned the use of wild animals in circuses in England, which will come into effect in December 2015. Photo Credit: photoshelter.com

The UK government banned the use of wild animals in circuses, which will be implemented in December 2015. The ban will only affect England, but negotiations are underway with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to make the ban UK-wide.

England joins Peru, Greece, Bolivia, Belgium and several others in the list of countries who have banned the use of wild animals in circuses.