Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel ordered the closure
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel ordered the closureHadas Parush/Flash 90

The agriculture ministry has ordered the indefinite closure of Israel's largest slaughterhouse, an official said, following an investigative report exposing cruel treatment of animals.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) ordered the Dabbah slaughterhouse in northern Israel immediately cease activities "following suspected violations of the animal welfare act and slaughtering regulations," his office said Tuesday.

The decision came following a request from Australian veterinary authorities, who received footage and details from rights group Animals Australia of the alleged violations.

Livestock is shipped from Australia to Israel, where it is slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law.

Footage broadcast on Israel's privately-owned Channel 2 on Sunday showed Dabbah employees beating calves with sticks and electrifying them with shockers on their way to being killed.

Workers also pulled calves by their tails to bring them to where they were eventually slaughtered.

Ariel had already last week ordered a temporary closure of Dabbah, pending further examination.

"I will show zero tolerance towards harming animals," Ariel said, noting poor sanitary conditions at Dabbah and that surveillance cameras were pointed away from the actual areas of alleged abuse.

A spokeswoman for animal rights group Anonymous Israel said around 60 percent of the meat consumed in Israel is imported frozen.

Of livestock slaughtered in Israel, half is raised locally and half imported.

The spokeswoman said approximately 120,000 cattle were slaughtered at Dabbah per annum.

An Anonymous activist exposed similar crimes in major Israeli abattoir Adom Adom in 2012, leading to indictments against some low-ranking employees and pledges by the slaughterhouse to diminish the suffering of animals.

AFP contributed to this report.