Australia Investigates Animal Cruelty in Israel

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has started an investigation into a complaint of animal cruelty at the Bakar Tnuva abattoir in Israel.
calendar icon 13 December 2012
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The complaint has been received from an Australian animal welfare organisation and concerns footage of mistreatment of sheep and cattle that was aired on Israel’s television programme Kolbotek, last week.

It was broadcast again this week on the ABC’s 730 programme.

DAFF said the images are distressing and show some staff actions that are not consistent with the animal welfare standards that are a condition of approval for the export of Australian animals.

The exporter supply chain assurance system (ESCAS) requires Australian livestock to be treated in accordance with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards.

Initial independent audits are conducted as part of an exporter establishing a supply chain. The initial audit establishes whether the supply chain can meet Australia’s regulatory requirements. Further regular performance audits are then required after animals have entered that supply chain.

An initial independent audit of the Bakar Tnuva abattoir was undertaken in July 2012. DAFF publicly released a summary of the outcomes of the initial audit on 4 December 2012. The initial audit found the abattoir met ESCAS requirments.

However, the initial independent audit was just that, a first initial audit. Australian livestock exporters currently with consignments in Israel will be required to submit subsequent performance audits after livestock have moved through the supply chain.

The Australian Government has also taken a number of actions on this matter:

  • As the independent regulator in Australia, DAFF is investigating the issues raised in the Israeli TV show and on the 730 programme.
  • DAFF has formally approached Israeli authorities welcoming their investigation and offering to assist in any way possible.

    The Department also welcomes the reports from the CEO of the abattoir that the plant manager will be replaced and the contract workers involved have been ordered not to come to work.
  • DAFF has sought additional assurances from exporters that they remain in a position to comply with ESCAS. The abattoir in question is only included in one Australian exporter’s supply chain and the exporter has been directed to commission an additional audit of the abattoir.
  • DAFF has contacted Australian exporters and the industry councils, ALEC, MLA and LiveCorp to ensure they are working with their members to have ESCAS requirements met for future consignments of livestock to Israel.

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