Chickens on sale at Jerusalem supermarket
Chickens on sale at Jerusalem supermarketIsrael news photo: Flash 90

MK Dov Henin of the left-wing Hadash party has suggested two new laws which, he argues, could help prevent animal cruelty. His proposals come on the heels of revelations of animal cruelty at the Zoglovek meat company.

An expose by Channel 10 news showed serious mistreatment of poultry. Among other things, chickens were shaken until they fell on a conveyor belt bringing them to slaughter – a process that killed some of the birds by ripping them apart.

Corporations and those that head them should be held responsible for animal abuse in their factories and slaughterhouses, Henin proposed.

“Last week some disturbing images from the Zoglovek slaughterhouse were exposed… We saw how a factory treats living creatures like raw material, and neglects their basic welfare,” he said, introducing his law.

After animal abuse was revealed at the Tnuva company’s slaughterhouse, only lower-level staff and managers were held responsible, he noted, “while the company and its directors were not brought to justice.”

His first bill will allow corporations and their directors to be charged with neglect if animals are abused in the company’s workplaces, he explained.

The second bill would be added to an existing law protecting consumers, he said. It would make it illegal to mislead consumers regarding the treatment of animals or the use of animal products in a product.

Many Members of Knesset from both the coalition and opposition have already signed in support of Henin’s bills.  

On Monday, a Rabbinate council will discuss the issue of animal abuse in the food industry. Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau expressed outrage last week at the abuse in Zoglovek, saying, “Such awful sights should not be seen in Israel’s food industry. The Torah commands us to show compassion to every living thing, and to spare them pain whenever possible – even regarding animals that are to be slaughtered.”

Rabbinate sources noted last week that in the case of Zoglovek, the abuse that was revealed was severe enough to potentially render the animals’ meat non-kosher. They noted that stripping companies that abuse animals of their kosher certification would provide a significant incentive not to abuse animals, because non-kosher meat is sold at a lower price.

The meeting Monday will focus on ways to change the kosher certification process in order to protect animals from mistreatment.