Agriculture Ministry Resumes Rabies Vaccination Program

Ministry provides partial funding after Meretz MK challenges agriculture minister, says other ministries are supposed to pitch in but have not.

A jackal walking by himself through the trees in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park, March 2015.
Ofer Vaknin

The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry has obtained funding to partially resume the oral vaccination of wild animals against rabies, just a week after it announced that it could not fund the project this year.

The project managers, who work for the veterinary services and the Nature and Parks Authority, were forced to inform vaccine suppliers last week the project was being dropped because the ministry couldn’t allocate the 5 million shekels ($1.3 million) the plan requires. As a result, MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) submitted an urgent parliamentary query to Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, asking what the ministry was doing to obtain the necessary funding. Ariel replied yesterday the ministry had just received 1.5 million shekels for this purpose. Zandberg protested the allocation was insufficient. “We must remember that if there’s an outbreak of rabies it poses a real hazard to the public,” she said.

The project managers will utilize the available funds to disperse bait laced with the oral vaccine in the north, where most of the country’s rabies cases are reported, which foxes and jackals consume.

“Given the importance of the issue, we are still trying to find budgetary sources for the project,” the ministry said of the project, adding that other ministries were also meant to contribute, but have not done so.