Live Export

Animal welfare complaint from Israel under investigation

Beef Central, 08/06/2015

The Australian Department of Agriculture is investigating a complaint received on 27 May, 2015, alleging instances of animal welfare concern at an approved abattoir in Israel.

The Department has released no details about the alleged animal cruelty at the centre of ths new investigation, or who reported it.

However it said the complaint includes footage of cattle slaughter practices that may be distressing to the community.

In a statement issued on Monday night the Department said the Australian Government shared the community’s concerns about the welfare of animals.

“The Department of Agriculture is, as the industry regulator, taking action to investigate animal welfare concerns relating to Australian cattle at the abattoir,” the statement said.

“The information in the complaint has been provided to Israeli authorities for investigation and any necessary actions.

“The department has contacted exporters who supply the abattoir seeking more information about the complaint and requiring assurances that international animal welfare standards are being met at the facility.

“The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was established to maintain the livestock export trade while delivering animal welfare outcomes.

“ESCAS enables the Department of Agriculture to review the performance of exporters, investigate complaints and incidents of non-compliance, compel industry to adopt additional measures to mitigate risks and take action against exporters under relevant legislation when necessary.”

The findings of the complaint will be published in an ESCAS regulatory performance report.



Published below is the original  incident statement issued by Animals Australia:


A new Animals Australia investigation in Israel has further highlighted the failure of Australia’s live export regulatory system.

The graphic footage — screened across Israel last night — was documented by hidden cameras in a major Israeli abattoir accredited under Australia’s live export regulations. It shows Australian cattle having their tails deliberately crushed, throats brutally sawn and being hoisted by one leg while still obviously conscious — all in breach of Australian and international (OIE) standards.

“Not even the presence of CCTV cameras could deter workers from breaking tails and failing to check that animals were unconscious before hoisting them to the ceiling for processing,” said Animals Australia chief investigator Lyn White.

“Kosher slaughter in Israel already involves cattle enduring the extreme stress of being tipped upside down and having their throats cut whilst fully conscious. To then have workers subjecting clearly conscious and distressed animals to such wanton cruelty is simply appalling.”

A complaint lodged by Animals Australia with the Department of Agriculture has also been provided to Israeli authorities. Over the past two years both of Israel’s major abattoirs — both approved under Australia’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) — have now been exposed for terrible cruelty.

“That Australian cattle could be subjected to such abuse in an approved abattoir presents further evidence that this system is fatally flawed. Once again without the efforts of Animals Australia, the ‘regulator’ wouldn’t even know that Australian regulations are being breached.”

Animals Australia is calling for CCTV to be made mandatory in all ESCAS-approved abattoirs, with remote access being provided to the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Australia.

“Live exporters are presenting CCTV on its own as the answer yet clearly it’s not, as CCTV was operating in this Israeli abattoir. Unless DA has remote access to CCTV it will not act as a deterrent to workers engaging in abuse. The technology is there and there is no reason why this cannot be a regulatory condition imposed on exporters.”

“Three years into this system, we are seeing horrific cruelty continue in various countries as a result of an abject failure of the Department of Agriculture to mete out any meaningful repercussions for serious breaches.”

“Even if Minister Barnaby Joyce is indifferent to animal suffering, he shouldn’t be indifferent to the fact that his regulations are a laughing stock that no party involved in this trade fears.”

The Dabbah abattoir, located in Deir Al Asad in Israel, is approved under ESCAS. Information was received of systemic issues during handling and slaughter. Two Australian exporters ship animals to Israel — Livestock Shipping Services and Otway Exports.

An Israeli government investigation is underway and the abattoir is facing a lengthy closure due to failing to meet religious slaughter requirements.


Click here to view this morning’s second article, providing responses from the Australian live export companies involved.








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