Religious Zionist rabbis urge ban on livestock imports

Religious Zionist rabbis from all across the political spectrum call for an end to livestock importing, which they say harms animals.

Tzvi Lev ,

Goats (illustration)
Goats (illustration)

Over 60 prominent Religious Zionist rabbis from all across the political spectrum signed a petition urging an end to livestock imports.

According to the rabbis, the tight spaces and substandard conditions that are the norm in importing livestock from overseas infringed on the biblical command not to cause pain to other animals.

"There is no doubt that this phenomenon is completely contrary to the spirit of our holy Torah and stands in stark contrast to some of the positive and negative commandments that are explicit in it, and the many halakhot that have been drawn from them in the Talmud," wrote the letter.

The rabbis added that "the regulators issuing a business license to a business that does not enforce the prohibition of cruelty to animals should know that they are an accomplice to a serious sin".The rabbis stressed, however, that their petition should not be taken as an assault on Kosher slaughter itself.

The petitioners included Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, former Old City Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, Bet Hillel advocacy group founder Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, and former Kfar Etzion Rabbi Elyashiv Knohl, who passed away two weeks ago.

The harsh conditions that are rife in the livestock industry have been attracting media attention lately after animal rights activists recently filmed a transatlantic ship packed tightly with animals who were unable to move. "This is indescribable animal cruelty. It does not matter whether it's Torah or rabbinical, it's so horrific, certainly, it's absolutely forbidden," said Bar Ilan Professor Daniel Sperber, who organized the petition.