According to the motion to amend the Cruelty to Animals law, which was submitted by Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh, the importation from East Asia (and mainly China) of fur or textile products made out of the hair of dogs, cats or rabbits will be banned and punishable by a one-year prison sentence.What I find most curious is how people are so quick to condemn the Chassidic minhag of shtreimels. Both in the Jewish World article and in the recent FailedMessiah post - A Haredi 'History' Lesson - that covered this topic, you can see how many people are opposed to the custom. Now I can understand such a point of view if one is a radical vegan of the Peta-ilk, but otherwise what is really behind the opposition to shtreimels? So what if it's a custom that goes back "only" a few hundred years or so? The only issue that folks should have (again, other than radical animal rights adherents) is whether the animals were killed humanely. You have problems with shtreimels, fur coats, leather shoes, meat-eating? Fine, don't use them or eat meat. And feel free to try and respectfully convince others not to. But the bottom line is that humans have used animals for food and clothing for tens of thousands of years and will continue to do so for a long time to come.
Tirosh wrote that about 2 million animals are slaughtered each year for the sole purpose of skinning them for their fur and they sometimes get skinned alive. "We as a society must try and prevent this unnecessary murder," the motion stated.
Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, whose office is in charge of implementing the law, even recommended expanding the bill to include fur of wild and domesticated animals from around the world.
Although I truly believe that Peta is an evil
I suspect that most of the opposition to shtreimels does not stem from a specific aversion to the use of fur, but a more visceral contempt for Chassidim because of their rejection of much of the trappings of modernity. Shtreimels, vasa zocken (white socks with knickers), long peyot, etc., are only the most outward signs of this rejection.