Chickens at Solgowek slaughterhouse 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Kolbotek.)
The Agriculture Ministry is negligent in combating animal abuse, Knesset
Education, Culture and Sport Committee chairman Amram Mitzna said Tuesday during
a meeting on the issue.
“There is insufficient enthusiasm and will on the
part of the Agriculture Ministry to take this subject as seriously as it
deserves to be taken,” Mitzna said, announcing he planned to summon Agriculture
Minister Yair Shamir to appear before the panel.
Mitzna called Tuesday’s
meeting following a Channel 10 report that the Soglowek slaughterhouses, which
kill 30,000 chickens and turkeys a day, abuse the animals.
the broadcast, chickens are kept for up to 19 hours in cramped, feces-filled
cages. Many are left injured inside the cages without food or water, sometimes
with their limbs stuck between the bars.
“The consumer eating an egg or
schnitzel has a right to know what happened to the animals on the way to being
slaughtered,” Ronen Bar, the Channel 10 reporter who investigated Soglowek, told
Soglowek CEO Pini Kamri told the committee that the
footage in the report was “unfortunate, but they are the exception.” He added
that the company had addressed the problem.
“We switched the machine even
though it meets standards... and moved to a more manual and controlled
process,” he said.
Dr. Nadav Gal-On of the Agriculture Ministry’s
Veterinary Service quipped that “raising animals for slaughter and to be eaten
doesn’t look as great as the cute dog in your living room.”
He added that over
200 million chickens and turkeys were killed each year in Israel. As such, the
process had to be industrialized.
“We don’t do less than any other
similar ministry in Western countries, but despite the supervision there are
problems sometimes, and we take care of them,” Gal-on continued.
machines work properly, animals don’t get caught on them, and machines are
preferable over manual labor for long hours. It’s hard to manually put chickens
into a machine for 10 hours in a row.”
Reut Horn of Anonymous for Animal
Rights told the committee that there was insufficient progress on regulations
against animal abuse on farms, and that the Agriculture Ministry faced a serious
conflict of interest since it was meant to defend both farmers and
Bayit Yehudi MK Zevulun Kalfa called to increase the fine for
animal abuse. He also said that as a farmer he had to spend NIS 1 million to
improve conditions for his cows when laws were passed in 2007, but that it was
worth it because they produced higher-quality milk.
“Everyone wants to
improve the situation and should understand that animal welfare brings a better
product,” Kalfa said.
MK Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid) pointed out that
animal abuse was against Jewish law.
“It’s more important for us to be
moral people than to eat schnitzel,” she said.
Mitzna said the law should
“We will not compromise on following the law and won’t
allow people to abuse animals for no reason before they reach the end of their
lives,” he said.
“We will all join the effort to take care of these
problems and promote normative values.”
Following the meeting, the
Agriculture Ministry said it was undertaking “extensive and continuous activity
ensuring the welfare of animals in all the slaughterhouses throughout the year
through supervision and law enforcement to stop animal abuse and by passing laws
and regulations that promote reforms to improve animal welfare.”
added, however, that it “cannot be everywhere all the time.”
[Soglowek] slaughterhouse has its own supervision system, including a
veterinarian and clear instructions to examine and report all shortcomings,” the
ministry said.Sharon Udasin contributed to this report.