Animal rights activists marching in Tel Aviv, Sept 19, 2014.
(photo credit: REVITAL TOPIOL)
The High Court of Justice has raised hopes among animal-rights activists by instructing the Agriculture Ministry to explain why it is still granting licenses for the importing of animals intended for slaughter.
The court issued the conditional order on Thursday in response to a petition filed by Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live. The petitioners are seeking to prohibit the provision of such licenses due to conditions endured by cattle on the long journeys to Israel, which the groups claim are a violation of the Animal Welfare Law.
The court ordered the Agriculture Ministry to provide answers to claims of the animal-rights organizations by the end of October.
Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live, along with other animal- rights groups, have long fought against the shipment of live cattle and sheep to Israel. The animals travel on crowded ships and planes, where they are subject to extremely unsanitary conditions and are prone to develop diseases from lying in feces.
In the first half of 2017 alone, 268,172 calves and lambs were imported by Israel from Australia and Europe for the purpose of slaughter, an increase of 20% compared with the same period last year, the organizations said, citing Agriculture Ministry data.
The increase has occurred despite pledges from the agriculture minister last year to work to restrict live shipments.
According to Economy Ministry assessments, a cheaper alternative to live shipments would be importing refrigerated meat from foreign slaughterhouses, if the shipments are exempt from customs duties.
“The court decision raises hope for a better future for animals,” a joint statement from Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live said. “More and more Israelis are choosing to stop buying meat and to not finance abusive corporations.
But even meat consumers are opposed to live shipments, which are the peak of cruelty. There is no justification for transporting animals from the other side of the world, across lands and seas, wallowing in their secretions on shaky ships.”