The Environmental Protection Ministry, in conjunction with Beit She’an Police,
opened a criminal investigation on Friday into alleged animal abuse occurring at
a city slaughterhouse owned by Tnuva, the ministry said on Saturday
The investigation follows Thursday night’s television broadcast
by Reshet’s Kolbotek consumer protection program of an exposé on the giant food
manufacturer’s Adom-Adom meat subsidiary. The ministry credited Kolbotek for
uncovering “grave findings,” which included video evidence of workers abusing
calves with an electric shocker, as well as beating them, standing on them and
dragging them by their legs using a forklift.
“There is no reason that
animals should experience such horrible abuse over the course of their lives,”
said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan.
Parallel to the
investigation, the ministry is also examining whether the slaughterhouse
violated the terms of its business license.
Following the Kolbotek
broadcast, the animal welfare organizations Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let
Animals Live filed police complaints about Tnuva for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Law, and turned to the
Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Services, demanding a closure of the
slaughterhouse, the groups said.
Anonymous for Animal Rights has also
launched a campaign urging the public to boycott the company.
investigation reveals the systematic abuse at the Tnuva slaughterhouse,” said
the group’s Hagai Cohen. “Unfortunately, these are not exceptional cases –
images illustrate that supervisors instructed the employees to use these
methods, and that abuse is common.
All that is left for consumers to do
is to vote with their forks and refuse to finance the abuse.”
many of the calves at the Tnuva facility are imported from Australia, the animal
rights groups forwarded to the Veterinary Services a letter from the chief
scientist at Australia’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
According to an Anonymous for Animals statement, the chief
scientist, Dr. Bidda Jones, wrote that the abuse occurring at the slaughterhouse
involved systematic violations of international regulations for slaughterhouses
instituted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), as well as
Australian legislation regarding the treatment of animals.
groups plan to protest against the alleged abuse on Monday afternoon in Tel
Aviv, and hundreds of comments slamming the company have already covered Tnuva’s
In response to the allegations, Adom-Adom CEO Erez Wolf
said the company “unequivocally condemns this behavior” and that it does not
represent the company as a whole.
“The rough behavior – as represented in
the video segment – deviated from all of our protocol,” Wolf
According to Wolf, after the company was made aware of the abuse,
management took a number of immediate steps, including the removal of the plant
manager as well as the suspension of the contracted workers. In addition, the
company installed cameras throughout the plant for better supervision and
“All of the workers, employees of both Adom-Adom and the
contractor, are receiving training and refreshers on regulations, including
proper attention to and care of animals,” Wolf said.
“We again declare:
Workers who violate these procedures will not be able to remain in the
Wolf added that Adom-Adom would “ensure that such conduct does
not occur again.”
Responsibility for the wellbeing of animals remains
with the Agriculture Ministry despite the fact that a bill promoted by Erdan to
transfer authority to his ministry received approval from the cabinet in June.
Following that approval, Agriculture Minister Orit Noked filed an appeal for
further discussion, which, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry,
has delayed the legislation.
“The exposure of this abuse is further proof
that we cannot forfeit the protection of animal rights to the hands of the
Agriculture Ministry, whose interests are guided by those of the food industry,”
In a statement, the Environmental Protection Ministry
stressed that it would continue efforts to transfer authority for animal welfare
to its “rightful place.”
For its part, the Agriculture Ministry sent
veterinarians on Friday morning to Adom- Adom’s Beit She’an site in order to
clarify regulations concerning the welfare of cattle, a ministry spokeswoman
told The Jerusalem Post.
The ministry, she said, is also working in
cooperation with police to expedite the investigation and would provide an
update when it is over.