Despite reform, Israel sees record level of livestock imported for slaughter in 2022

The Agriculture Ministry claims that the import of refrigerated meat does not meet demand.

 Cattle are seen on the Lebanese flag ship NADA in the port of Santos, Brazil December 2, 2017. Twenty-seven thousand animals will be transported to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, according to Ecoporto terminal company. (photo credit: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER)
Cattle are seen on the Lebanese flag ship NADA in the port of Santos, Brazil December 2, 2017. Twenty-seven thousand animals will be transported to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, according to Ecoporto terminal company.
(photo credit: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER)

A total of 925,440 animals were imported into Israel for slaughter in 2022 according to newly published data from Israel Against Live Shipments movement. For the past decade, Israel Against Live Shipments has been following and documenting the shipment of animals imported for slaughter in Israel, often in conditions of overcrowding and pollution.

In their report summarizing the year 2022, the organization states that 925,440 animals were imported for slaughter in Israel on 150 ships, marking an increase of 8% compared to last year, and a new record.

"This is an increase of over 500% within a decade, a figure that also refutes the false argument of the Agriculture Ministry about the need to supply the food needs of the local market in accordance with the relative increase in the population," says the organization.

"This is an increase of over 500% within a decade, a figure that also refutes the false argument of the Agriculture Ministry about the need to supply the food needs of the local market in accordance with the relative increase in the population."

Israel Against Live Shipments

The data obtained by Maariv shows that this year alone, 643,972 lambs and 281,468 calves arrived for slaughter in Israel on ships that completely do not meet the criteria of the Animal Cruelty Law, whose enforcement is entrusted to the Agriculture Ministry.

The organization also reports that in the past year, seven cases of animal carcasses being dumped from the shipments on the seashores were revealed. "In view of the fact that there is nobody in Israel that centralizes the phenomenon of body dumping, we can only assume based on previous years that the numbers are much higher." This year, foot-and-mouth disease broke out on more than 80 farms, many of which receive animals arriving from live shipments.

 Cattle walk up a ramp onto a cargo ship for export, at Vila do Conde port in Barcarena, Para state, near the mouth of the Amazon river, October 8, 2013.  (credit: REUTERS/Paulo Santos) Cattle walk up a ramp onto a cargo ship for export, at Vila do Conde port in Barcarena, Para state, near the mouth of the Amazon river, October 8, 2013. (credit: REUTERS/Paulo Santos)

In a conversation with Maariv, Israel Against Live Shipments emphasizes: "For years we have been documenting and exposing the horror and abuse of the practice of shipping, which is now carried out in third world countries and in Israel. Precisely in the year that advanced countries such as Germany and New Zealand announced a complete halt to live shipments, in Israel - instead of stopping this madness, we are seeing another increase in the numbers. We call on the Knesset, Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter to immediately stop this badge of shame for the country."

Reforms passed seven years ago to lower the rate of live shipments

In August 2016, the agriculture minister at the time, Uri Ariel, launched a revolutionary initiative to gradually cancel live shipments and import refrigerated beef that had already been slaughtered in the slaughterhouses of the countries of origin to prevent the unimaginable suffering of the animals during their long journeys at sea.

Even then, the health minister aligned itself with extending the shelf life regulations required to implement the reform, but the livestock importers, businessmen who do not represent local agriculture, managed to bend the hands of those responsible for the decision, and in fact in the last seven years that reform has been emptied of all content.

The Agriculture Ministry stated in response that "The ministry defines the conditions for importing by ships and checks the condition of the animals. The local market and the imported refrigerated meat do not meet demand, but we see great importance in maintaining the welfare of the animals, therefore at the same time the ministry is working to find alternatives to importing cattle, including through investing in research into alternative protein, opening the import of fresh meat from as many countries as possible after their veterinary approval and promoting the import of refrigerated meat."