Following a recent Knesset committee discussion slamming shipment of live Australian cattle and sheep to Israel, exporters from the continent argued that the four-legged passengers experience a safe overseas journey, in a conversation with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
On January 6, the Agriculture Ministry canceled a shipment of live cattle and sheep from Australia heading to Israel after the ship’s engine broke down on the first day of the journey, leaving 13,000 animals on board the ship for an extra week during repairs, prompting an outcry from animal rights’ activists in both countries.
Alison Penfold, chief executive officer of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, told the Post that contrary to claims made by animal rights’ groups, Australian livestock exporters take several steps to make the trips comfortable for animals.
Penfold chalked up criticism of the live shipping practice to the industry’s former lack of transparency with the public. “The industry didn’t engage and communicate. We weren’t open to showing people what we did,” she said but emphasized that there has been a huge improvement, especially in the past five years. “Australia has made animal welfare a condition of trade,” she said, exemplified by how it closed trade with Indonesia in 2011 after serious animal welfare violations were discovered.