New system to rate slaughterhouses on cruelty

Israelis who are worried about the way animals are treated prior to slaughter can now find out how the chicken they are eating was treated.

Moshe Cohen,

Chicken
Chicken
Israel News Photo: (file)

Under new rules, meat sold in Israel will sport not just certifications that it is kosher – but also whether the slaughterhouse that prepared the meat treated the animal in a kosher manner. The ratings system will award stars to slaughterhouses based on their treatment of animals – with one star for “terrible” treatment, and five for “excellent” treatment.

The ratings system will be imposed beginning in 2016, first applied to chicken products, and later to frozen and fresh beef and lamb. The ratings will be determined by a committee of inspectors in the Agriculture Ministry, based on their experiences in scheduled and surprise visits.

The inspectors will rate the slaughterhouses on how the animals are treated prior to slaughter – what kind of cages they are kept in, what they are fed, how much space they have, etc.

Any violations of the law will, as they are now, be treated as such, with inspectors having the power to fine or shut down a slaughterhouse as appropriate. But the new rules will apply also to slaughterhouses that do not violate the law – with legislators hoping that the slaughterhouses will improve their treatment of animals, if not for reasons of mercy, then for a better treatment rating.

Over the past year, the Ministry said, it had shut down several slaughterhouses that did not live up to the standards imposed by the government.

One such slaughterhouse, Dabah, was shut down after frightening photos were smuggled out showing the mistreatment of animals. The slaughterhouse is currently operating under the direct supervision of Ministry officials. The owners of the slaughterhouse have yet to be charged.


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