Legislation in works to restrict live cattle imports

The legislation would enable the import of live calves by ship only if the voyage lasts six days or less, while air shipments would not be allowed to exceed six hours.

June 7, 2017 00:30
2 minute read.
CATTLE AWAIT departure on the ‘MV Ocean Outback’ on January 6

CATTLE AWAIT departure on the ‘MV Ocean Outback’ on January 6. (photo credit: AUSTRALIAN LIVESTOCK EXPORTERS’ COUNCIL)


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In an aim to minimize the suffering of animals imported to Israel for slaughter, MK Eitan Broshi (Zionist Union) will soon submit a bill to restrict live cattle shipments.

“The undisciplined import of live calves causes great and sometimes even completely unnecessary suffering,” Broshi said on Tuesday. “If we become familiar with how to limit the length of the journeys, we will be able to alleviate their suffering a little bit.”

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The legislation would enable the import of live calves by ship only if the voyage lasts six days or less, while air shipments would not be allowed to exceed six hours.

Only calves weighing 100 to 200 kg. would be permitted on the sea voyages, and only those weighing 60 to 150 kg. would be flown in by plane.

Today, due to the high density of animals on board as well as the long journey time from faraway countries like Australia, the live shipment of heavier calves causes severe suffering, Broshi stressed.

Limiting both the duration of the journey and the weight of the calves could somewhat ease that, he said.

Not only could restricting live calf imports contribute to improving animal welfare, but doing so could also help contribute to local agriculture, Broshi added. Reducing the number of calves imported could allow local producers to make a better living from the domestic market, in which meat prices have risen in recent years, he said.

In response to Broshi’s proposal, the groups Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live – which have long been fighting against live shipments – argued that such a bill would be both insufficient and ineffective.

“The Israeli public opposes live shipping and wants to see its total cessation and will not be satisfied with less than that,” a statement from the groups said. “Live shipments are a stain on the State of Israel and attempts to enact such legislation will not bring about any significant change.”

Although the bill might bring an end to transports from Australia, it would still allow for shipments from Europe, the groups explained.

“There is no way to bring thousands of calves and lambs in crowdedness over continents and seas, on a tossing ship, wallowing in their secretions, without causing them suffering,” the statement added. “Live shipping is abuse that contradicts the Animal Welfare Law and must be stopped.”

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