Exposing the Rough Treatment of Calves Transported from Australia
In August 2011, Anonymous documented the rough treatment of animals shipped from Australia for the Israeli meat industry. We documented a shipment of calves for Tnuva, Israel largest distributor of dairy products, which has just arrived at the Tsofar terminal in the Arava valley in southern Israel.
Video footage taken by Anonymous activists shows the densely transported calves being violently removed from the trucks into the quarantine through the repeated use of prongs and electric shockers. These images have been initially exposed in the Israeli press on Ynet (Sep. 25, 2011) – that article was one of the most popular ones in Ynet's environmental section (with over 1,700 likes and hundreds of talkbacks). Other related articles were published on the News1 website (Dec. 15) and in the Eilat local online newspaper (Oct. 6).
Following that exposure a demonstration was held at the home of then-Tnuva's CEO, Zehavit Cohen, with good coverage on radio and leading news websites. Tnuva itself declared that the employee caught maltreating the calves will be fired, thus trying to hide the sad fact that the exposed footage points at systemic problems ingrained in transporting calves from overseas, not the behavior of a single employee (who most likely hadn't decided to purchase electric shockers all by himself). The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture said it would launch an investigation.
Anonymous' footage and photos also won international exposure, with Australian newspaper and website The Age showing them on Aug. 25. They were also used to support a campaign by local animal rights groups against the inter-continental "export" of live animals from Australia.
Exposing the Chick HatcheryIn April we exposed another form of abuse within the local meat industry, this time with video footage of a chick hatchery in central Israel supplying chicks to the meat industry. These images show chicks being classified, densely carried around on fast conveyor belts and thrown in the air by hatchery employees. This was a first exposé of its kind in Israel with regard to meat industry chicks (earlier reports exist from hatcheries serving the egg industry). This report was first aired in Anonymous weekly magazine, then re-published in leading news portal NRG Maariv (Apr. 26, 2011), and again on television, on Israel's First Channel's flagship evening newscast, Mabat, discussing the killing of chicks in these hatcheries. That item was broadcast in relation to the recent drafting of regulations for restricting the killing methods currently employed by hatcheries.
Pro-Vegetarianism CommercialJanuary 2011 saw the release of a pro-vegetarianism commercial by Anonymous, presented by actor Omer Barnea, under the title "Vegetarianism – Live and Let Live". However, it was banned from live broadcasting due to the harsh images it contained, which illustrate the abuse of animals in the food industry. Despite that, that commercial enjoyed media coverage – it was shown within a Ynet article on Jun. 1, and later covered by Channel 2, one of Israel's main TV channels. Following that, it won wide exposure through the Vimeo website, with over 41,500 viewings.
More Media CoverageAnonymous keeps promoting animal rights issues in the media on a regular basis. Here are some highlights from our media coverage this year:
- Our spokesperson, Ronen Bar, was invited to Channel 10's morning programme "The Professionals" to talk about the moral and environmental reasons behind the choice of a vegan diet.
- Two Anonymous activists, Uri Lorber and Erez Katsav, were interviewed for a report in daily newspaper Maariv on Animal Rights Day (Dec. 8, 2011). Columns by Lorber and Katsav were also published on the NRG Maariv news portal on Dec. 8, discussing animal distress in pet shops and petting corners, and on Dec. 9, on the growing industrialization of animal-based food production methods.
- Anonymous activist Idan Sawyer published several articles in the important Walla! News portal, including one on the Ministry of Agriculture's chick killing regulations (Dec. 8), in which he claimed that even using the shredders for killing the young chicks is a cruel method, and that the only way to prevent it from happening is by totally opposing the egg industry (Sep. 14). Another column presented the State of Israel Comptroller's claims against the inefficiency of the Ministry of Health's Animal Experiments Committee (May 17).
- An article was published in popular youth magazine Maariv Lanoar containing interviews with young Anonymous activists (May 18).
- Several columns from Anonymous' "Animal Rights this Week" webzine enjoyed re-publication on the NRG Maariv portal. They included an article on the environmental damage caused by sea-grown fish for the food industry (Nov 29), another on the growing popularity of the "Meat Free Monday" project (Aug 22), and a third on the development of critical interest in human-animal relationships within the Planet of the Apes movies over the years (Sep. 12).
- The cooperation between the Israeli Vegetarian website (run by Anonymous) and Ynet's Food Channel is continuing as part of the latter's "Meat Free Monday" weekly column.
The Continued Struggle Against Battery FarmsThroughout 2011 Anonymous has kept up its campaign against the egg industry reform planned by the Ministry of Agriculture, which involves dismantling the existing smaller battery coops and building new, massive ones instead. The cages in the new installations are planned to be so small as to not even allowing the densely caged chickens to open their wings.
In response to a appeals by Anonymous and other organizations, in 2009 the Israel Supreme Court issued a temporary interim order forbidding the Ministry of Agriculture from beginning to apply the reform until the conditions of the chickens in the egg industry are regulated. Throughout 2011 Anonymous continued to work with the Education Committee of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in order to make sure these regulation will not be accepted.
Attempts by the Ministry of Agriculture to legislate for battery cages go against the grain of current international trends. In early 2012, exhaustive anti-battery cages regulations within the European Union have become law. Even in the US (in most of whose states no law existed so far regarding the caging conditions of chickens), an agreement was reached between animal welfare organizations and the egg industry promoting federal legislation against the use of battery cages.
Pet shopsFollowing the new regulations in July 2009 stipulating minimal conditions for keeping animals exploited for non-agricultural use, Anonymous has started documenting and taking legal action against pet shops which kept animals in violation of these regulations. Complaints have already been lodged against 18 pet shops in central Israel, where animals were held in crowded, non-complying conditions.
Anonymous on the InternetFor the past two years, Anonymous' Facebook page has been updated and expanded almost on a daily basis. It now boasts 11,500 friends.
As well as this page, Anonymous also maintains a Facebook page dedicated to its anti-battery cages campaign ("Israel Leaves the Cage"), which this year has reached over 2,000 friends), and the "Meat Free Monday" project. This year Anonymous also launched a new Twitter account and an official YouTube channel. The group's iPhone app, "The Big Recipe Book", available for free from iTunes, has been downloaded this year by over 93,000 users. Anonymous' weekly Internet webzine, "Animal Rights This Week", sent weekly by email to about 35,000 subscribers, had this year celebrated its 11th year.
Nutrition ConsultationAnonymous offers the public nutrition consultation, aimed at helping people plan a good, healthy plant-based diet. It's run by a registered clinical nutritionist at subsidized rates and includes four one-to-one sessions. About 60 people attended such sessions this year after booking them through Anonymous. It's especially recommended for those taking their first steps in moving to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but more experienced vegetarians/vegans who are interested in improving their diet and enjoying the best of a plant-based diet will also find it useful.
Street stallsAnonymous organizes regular street stalls. In these stalls, our volunteers hand out leaflets and information booklets, gather signatures on petitions, and present passersby with the main concepts of the animal rights movement.
This year, we had regular stalls in five cities: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Raanana and Beer Sheva, as well as special-event stalls (for example, at the Activism Festival). Once a month Anonymous runs a Meat Free Monday stall in Tel Aviv, where passersby get to taste animal-based foods.
In August, we ran an intensive action day for about 30 young people, who after attending lectures on animal rights and plant-based diets, went out to the Tel Aviv streets to attend stalls, hand out leaflets and gather signatures for our petitions.
EducationAnonymous' lecture program is run by a team of 15 volunteer lecturers, who have between them given in 2011 over 300 lectures to a combined audience of approximately 26,000 people. Most of the lectures were given, by invitation, in schools and other institutions.
This year Anonymous also produced the teacher's curriculum set aimed at 8 to 14 year-old students, "Sharing the World... With Everyone". It includes a variety of lesson plans, worksheets, presentations and ideas for activities aimed at encouraging the young pupils to protect animals. This set is sent to teachers upon request. You may find other tips and suggestions for animal rights-related activities on Anonymous' educational Live Action website.
Would you like to help?Anonymous continues to expand, and is looking for people who'd like to get involved in our activities and help us protect animals. If you wish to help us, please contact us about volunteering or about offering us a donation.
Translation: Doron Greenshpan