Animal rights activists protest in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Anonymous for Animal Rights)
Claiming that the office has zero tolerance for animal welfare offenses,
Agriculture Ministry officials stressed on Monday that new regulations for the
protection of vulnerable hatchery chicks would be going into force without
Ministry officials, Knesset members and animal rights activists
attended a meeting of the Knesset’s Education Committee on the subject that day,
which also addressed the possibility of expanding overall enforcement powers of
At the meeting, ministry officials presented a
series of recently proposed measures toward preventing cruelty to animals in
chick hatcheries, as well as the results of case investigations that have been
occurring over the past couple years.
After investigating a recent
incident in which a hatchery was causing unnecessary suffering to its chicks by
slowly suffocating the animals in garbage bags, the ministry’s veterinary
services ordered that a government inspector be present at the site until
further notice, in order to monitor the health situation of the baby
Today, the offending hatchery is working according to protocol,
but the ministry continues to send inspectors to this facility and others around
the country, on both planned and unannounced visits, the officials
After investigations of the original incident conclude, the
ministry will decide whether to move forward with legal proceedings against the
hatchery, they added.
“This is repeated time after time,” said MK Eitan
Cabel (Labor), who was participating in the discussion. “It should be clear that
whoever is caught doing something of this type or similar to it will have his
Parallel to the investigation of this particular
incident, the ministry has initiated a series of strict measures that all
hatcheries must follow, including an obligation to delegate a specific employee
with the responsibility of animal cruelty prevention, according to the
Failure to comply with the new policies will cost hatcheries
their operating licenses, and renewal of licenses for 2014 is contingent upon
fully implementing the ministry’s guidelines, the office said.
ministry officials likewise vowed that new regulations on the supervision of
hatcheries would be launched within one month, and that their execution is
simply awaiting the approval of the Justice Ministry.
Distressed by many
of the methods still used to kill the chicks, Education Committee Chairman Amram
Mitzna called upon the Agriculture Ministry to bring to the committee by the end
of October new regulations on exactly how the farmers are allowed to perform the
The passage of this legislation has already been
delayed for 10 years, as previous agriculture ministers have refused to sign off
on the proposals, according to the group Anonymous for Animal Rights.
Asaf Harduf, an expert in criminal law and a volunteer for Anonymous, stressed
that the role of the law must be to increase enforcement against welfare
violations and reduce the suffering that comes with the slaughter of millions of
chickens each year.
“The time has come to establish an animal protection
authority, which is subject to the Justice Ministry and is responsible for
criminal prosecution,” Harduf said.
At the beginning of 2012, officials
completed the process of streamlining and revamping regulations related to
animal welfare violations, enabling the swift imposition of 152 fines, the
Agriculture Ministry said.
In 2011, 90 new animal rights violation cases
were opened, followed by 85 cases in 2012 and 52 cases in the first half of
2013. Since the beginning of 2012, when the regulatory overhaul was complete,
the ministry has filed 21 indictments for animal welfare offenses and is still
reviewing 84 active cases.