Michal Rotem

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Michal Rotem is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University, exploring the mutual influence of ideas from the natural and social sciences. She writes mainly about global warming, animal rights, and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. She received a grant for “The Political Plate: Changes in the Legitimacy of the Human Usage of Animals: A Comparative Study.” The purpose of this study is to understand a social group’s perspectives in order to find out how to promote laws that encourage the reduction of animal-product consumption fairly and in a way that is respectful of different groups. Michal writes:

The focus of my research is not on how individuals justify consuming animal products, but rather on specific social groups that have an economic, ethical, or cultural objection to legislation that promotes animal rights in general, and reduction in consumption of animal products in particular. In order to promote public legitimacy for reducing animal products, it is necessary to understand public rejection. Up to now, there are not enough studies that attempt to understand the perspective of objection groups to the reduction of animal products.

In September 2022, Michal gave us an update on her work, which will encompass four countries: Israel, the Netherlands, the United States, and Argentina. She has completed the literature review, and has begun her comparative research, concentrating initially on Israel. She observes that, although many people and some politicians want to limit and lower livestock exports, Israeli farmers and communities who depend on imports of live animals for ritual slaughter oppose such a move. Furthermore, since Israel controls most products (including agricultural ones) imported into areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), all changes in terms of exporting and importing animals and animal products must be coordinated via the PA.