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Australia May Halt Animal Exports to Israel Over Cruelty Report

An Israeli television report about animal cruelty has made its way to Australia - and now animal exports to Israel may be banned
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/11/2012, 9:50 PM

Cow herd
Cow herd
Flash90

An Israeli television report about animal cruelty has made its way to Australia – and as a result, animal rights activists are demanding that Australia withhold exports of cows and sheep to Israel.

The report, on Channel Two's Kolbotek consumer affairs magazine, showed workers at Tnuva's slaughterhouse mistreating animals, including using electric shockers to subdue them, hitting them over the head with blunt objects, and dragging animals. The report garnered calls by Knesset members and Israeli animal rights group for an investigation of Tnuva, and the Israeli activists transferred the Kolbotek video to the Australian groups, asking that they pressure their government to halt animal exports to Israel.

Tnuva is Israel's largest dairy cooperative, but also has a significant business in chicken, beef, egg, and mutton production.

Australia already has tough laws against animal cruelty, a result of investigations into exports from Australia to Indonesia. The law requires exporters to track the fate of animals through the slaughter process in foreign countries. The animal rights groups want the same rules to apply to exports to Israel, in the wake of the report.

According to a spokesperson for the Australian group, the report shows numerous violations of Australian law by the Israeli slaughterhouse workers. In addition, some of the actions also appear to violate international conventions against animal cruelty, which Israel has undertaken to observe. Israeli groups as well are calling for a boycott of Tnuva, and demanding that a major government investigation of the company's meat production system be conducted.

Israelis who saw the report have also demanded that the Chief Rabbinate investigate the kashrut certification process at the slaughterhouse. Animals that are hit over the head or shocked into submission are generally considered unkosher, and consumers were demanding that the Rabbinate investigate whether any of these animals were slaughtered and labeled as kosher.