Groups petition court to close Tnuva facility

Animal rights activists call on High Court to close slaughterhouse in Beit She'an following allegations of animal cruelty.

By
December 13, 2012 00:47
2 minute read.
A cow is hit with a cattle prod

Cattle prod animal abuse cow pain scream 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of 'Tnuva Cruelty')

 
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The animal rights organizations Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday morning calling for the immediate closure of a Bakar Tnuva slaughterhouse in Beit She’an.

Following an undercover expose aired by Reshet's Kolbotek program on Thursday about alleged abuse at the Adom-Adom slaughterhouse, the Environmental Protection Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Beit She’an police opened a criminal investigation into practices at the site.

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With images of animals receiving electric shocks, beatings and other forms of abuse, rights groups likewise called for the resignation of Erez Wolf, CEO of Tnuva’s Adom-Adom meat brand on Monday. The Agriculture Ministry announced on Tuesday that it would summon four plant veterinarians for a hearing on Thursday.

In reaction to the ongoing investigation, Wolf stressed that the company “unequivocally condemns this behavior” and said measures were being taken against the employees who had participated in the abusive behavior.

The High Court petition, drafted by attorneys Yossi Wolfson and Guy Nussen, claims that Tnuva and its veterinary services should be barred from operating the slaughterhouse until the criminal investigation concludes, and calls on the company to correct employee training procedures, supervisory mechanisms and infrastructural defects there.

Details in the petition rely on the testimony of Ronen Bar, an activist with Anonymous for Animal Rights who carried out the undercover investigation of the slaughterhouse for Kolbotek. In addition, the rights groups also said they incorporate statements from Dr. Bidda Jones, chief scientist at Australia’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), as many of the cows at the slaughterhouse had been imported from Australia.

“The documentation from Ronen Bar’s camera shows that driving a herd at Bakar Tnuva is done principally by means of stick beatings and electric shocks,” the petition says.

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“The use of electric shocks is not exceptional; rather, it is systematic, constant and routine,” it goes on. “The animals absorb the electric shocks in all organs, including the head, the face and the testicles. Also, when calves are incapable of standing on their feet, the workers attack them with electric shocks and again all over their bodies.”

The petitioners stressed that there had been insufficient layoffs regarding the workers involved in the abuse, and that in the absence of proper training practices new employees would behave similarly.

Animal rights groups in Australia, such as RSPCA and Animals Australia, are calling for a ban of cattle exports to Israel. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired a segment on the situation at the slaughterhouse, while Australian Agriculture Department Deputy Secretary Phillip Glyde ordered an investigation into the case, according to Anonymous for Animal Rights.

Accompanying the petition to the High Court was a letter to Veterinary Services head Dr. Nadav Galon from Dr. Hagai Almagor, who was formerly in charge of animal welfare at the Agriculture Ministry.

“If I were overseeing the Animal Welfare Law today, I would be actively seeking the closure of the slaughterhouse of Tnuva in Beit She’an until all procedures and actions were comprehensively examined by all the enforcement and supervisory officials,” Almagor wrote.

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