Abused pigs in galilee raid 370.
(photo credit: Rinat Koris-Rahamim)
An interministerial force of inspectors raided one of Israel’s largest pig farms
on Monday night, where officials have said 2,000 pigs were living in abusive
The raid, which occurred at the Araf piggery in the Western
Galilee local council of Mi’ilya, occurred under the joint action of the
Environmental Protection Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Tax Authority,
Israel Police, the Israel Electric Corporation and the Interior
There, the pigs were found living neglected in extremely high
density, suffering injury and receiving no medical treatment, according to the
Agriculture Ministry. Sludge from swine manure carpeted the farm floor and pig
carcasses were strewn within the sludge, causing odors to the surrounding
A court-ordered closure against the farm already exists but
has yet to be fulfilled, according to the Environmental Protection
So harsh were the conditions that during the raid, ministry
inspectors said they observed the male pigs that were forced to step on each
other due to lack of space and female pigs that were held in such small cells
that they were unable to move.
Ministry inspectors took wastewater
samples to check pollution levels of the piggery, the ministry said.
the Araf farm, government officials also examined the company’s business books,
which have been under suspicion of criminal activity, the Environment Ministry
said. The farm is one of many piggeries around Israel owned by the Araf family,
a respected name in the business, but none of whose pig farms are operating
under a proper business license, according to the Environmental Protection
Ministry. The farm has annual revenues of approximately NIS 70
The owners of the farm are being investigated, and investigation
material will be transferred to the claims department of the Agriculture
Ministry for further legal proceedings, an Agriculture Ministry statement
explained. The abuse of animals is an offense punishable with up to three years
imprisonment or a fine up to NIS 202,000.
In general, pig activity in
northern Israel brings serious pollution hazards and damage to the wastewater
treatment plants of the region, according to the Environment Ministry.
Concentrated pig sewage flows into the sewage system, which is unable to cope
with such a pollution load. In some cases, the pig farms are even sending their
sewage directly into streams and the ground itself. The Environmental Protection
Ministry in the past has submitted a number of past indictments against pig farm
owners for pollution- related offenses, but after paying court-imposed fines,
the farmers continued their activities without repairing the root of the
problem, the ministry said.
Other problems that generally exist in
Israeli piggeries include severely cruel acts, such as castration and
tailchopping without anesthesia, according to the Environment Ministry. In a
huge portion of pig farms, owners are holding pigs in such harsh conditions that
the pigs themselves are hardly able to move at all from adulthood until
The Agriculture Ministry said that it is currently promoting a
reform for improving the living conditions of pigs in Israel, to match the
standards of the European Directive, in cooperation with the Environmental
Protection Ministry. In addition to working to improve the welfare of animals,
the biministerial team is also striving to better public health by reducing
biological and environmental hazards.
The team has already identified in
their recommendations that farmers must reduce the density in which pigs are
being raised, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
In addition, the
team has suggested relocating many pig farmers to more isolated locations in the
South, where risks of water contamination and odor nuisances are
The Agriculture Ministry also encouraged members of the public to
continue to report any suspected violations of the Animal Welfare Law to the
ministry's Veterinary Services department.
The activist organization
Anonymous for Animal Rights criticized the Agriculture Ministry for its delayed
actions taken regarding the long-time suffering of the pigs.
Anonymous and the organization Let Animals Live petitioned the High Court to
order the Agriculture Ministry to explain why no such standards exist for
handling pigs, the organization explained.
Typical growth conditions in
pigsties in Israel are characterized by abuse, which includes not only acute
pain but also social isolation and complete inactivity and immobility, a
statement from Anonymous said.
“The surprise of Agriculture Ministry
inspectors is astounding, since so often documents of pig abuse pass through
their hands,” the statement added.
“Abuse is made possible because the
Agriculture Ministry refuses to set a minimum standard for holding pigs, as the
office is charged to do under the Animal Welfare Law.”