Live Export Cruelty, 2013
An undercover investigation provides a glimpse into the harrowing ordeal endured by calves and lambs shipped from Australia to feedlots in Israel.
The Exposé | The Abuse: The Investigation's Findings | Testimony | Background | What You Can Do | The Investigation in the Media
Six months after we exposed horrific abuse of calves and lambs at their final destination, we now offer a glimpse of the abuse suffered by those same animals several months before they are sent to slaughter: their violent unloading off Australian ships in the Port of Eilat, being crammed into packed trucks and unloaded at quarantine stations by kicking, whipping, and shocking with electric prods, and their prolonged confinement in feedlots in giant piles of their own excerement, before finally being loaded back onto trucks on their way to slaughter.
The investigation exposed many violations of the Animal Welfare Law and Animal Transport Regulations. Anonymous has filed a complaint with the police and the authority in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Law, demanding a thorough investigation into the matter. This includes looking into how Ministry of Agriculture inspectors, who were present on the scene, did not bother to enforce even the minimal protections afforded to animals in transport, which were grossly violated.
From the complaint:
- "Animal Transport Regulation 9(a) prohibits beating animals during loading and unloading. Yet we have documented animals being systematically punched, kicked, and clubbed, all over their body, including the head. None of the beatings are necessary in order to move the animals along. In some cases the beatings are completely arbitrary, and other cases could be avoided if workers employed simple animal guiding techniques. In a number of cases we see lambs being tossed in the air."
- "Animal Transport Regulation 6 requires medical care to injured animals, yet we have also documented workers beating lame and injured animals. In the footage, we can clearly see a lamb which is unable to stand on its own. Instead of offering medical aid, the worker repeatedly beats it in order to goad it off the ship and onto the truck."
- "Clause 12 of the Animal Transport Regulations limits the number of sheep that may be transported in a single cell to 30 individuals, and stipulates a minimum area for each animal. The footage shows an apparent breach of this regulation: the number of sheep exceeds 30, the animals are very tightly packed, and some of them have trouble breathing."
- "The footage of calves being loaded onto a truck in the cowshed in Beit haShita [a kibbutz] shows the use of electric prods. A senior employee instructs other workers to stop using the prod only when he notices they are being filmed."
Furthermore, the abuse constitutes a breach of Australian live export regulations, which hold the local meat industry to the minimal Australian legal animal welfare standard, also covering countries to which Australian animals are exported. Australian animal rights organizations have watched the Israeli footage and filed a complaint with their local authorities. These organizations demand a ban on live exports from Australia.
Rami Bell (a pseudonym), an investigator from "Anonymous" set out to document the journey of Australian calves and lambs within Israel. He placed a camera with a telescopic zoom on a mountain overlooking the Port of Eilat, and documented from a distance the unloading of calves and lambs off ships and onto transport trucks, a process that took 40 hours nonstop, in a scorching heat.
Afterwards, Bell followed the trucks, and even managed to infiltrate a few of them. He also documented the condition of the animals through the remaining stops in their journey through Israel: in the quarantine in kibbutz Eilot, and in the feedlot for calves before they are shipped to the "Adom Adom" slaughterhourse. He states:
"During disembarkment, workers roughly shoved lambs and calves, and beat them with sticks. At times they also kicked them, dragged lambs by their feet and tossed them in the air. The ramp from the ship onto the truck is quite steep, and lambs often lose their footing and slip. At certain points lambs were agressively goaded from the ship onto the truck, only to discover that the truck was already packed full of lambs, standing shoulder to shoulder. In such cases, workers would violently drag one of the lambs back up the steps back into the ship, only to later load it onto a different truck.
For calves, the ramp from the ship is much narrower, so in their case, the transfer is much simpler since they have no opportunity to turn around and run from the workers back into the ship, as the lambs do. When they stand still and refuse to move, workers beat them and kick them from the side.
The enormous number of animals precludes any possibility of treating them as individuals. They are lowered onto trucks in groups, without any regard to whether an individual lamb is injured, dying, dehydrated, requires medical attention, or whether a lamb is scared for its life and afraid to go any further. For example, I filmed a lamb who had fallen behind, pitifully hobbling from the ship towards the truck on broken legs, unable to stand, much less walk. Despite this, workers repeatedly kicked it and tried to get it to move on and join the others.
Every place I visited - from the port, to the quarantine, to the feedlot - someone would ask me to leave, or to stop filming. The workers know very well that these images would shock the public and hurt them, and therefore they tried to stop me from filming them."
Every year over 110,000 calves and 50,000 lambs are imported to Israel, mostly from Australia. From the moment they are loaded onto trucks, and from there onto overcrowded ships, these calves and lambs will never again be let out to graze. After a three week nauseating sea journey, they will be transferred from ships onto trucks, from there to the quarantine, the feedlot, and back onto trucks, on their way to slaughter. More on live exports from Australia.
A year ago, in March 2012, one sheep received much publicity(as well as humane treatment, and even a name - Sahar) after being rescued in open water by Eilat Dolphin Reef employees who noticed him by chance while out sailing. Evidently, the sheep had been tossed off the deck when the ship neared the port for being too weak (no sense paying customs duty for a sheep who may not make it to slaughter) but managed to survive at sea long enough to be noticed and saved.
In December 2012, we uncovered abuse of Australian lambs at the Tnuva slaughterhouse, where 40% of calves in Israel are slaughtered. In August 2011 we exposed how Australian calves are unloaded in quarantine stations using electric prods and goads.
- Don't eat animals. The meat industry is based on the mass torture and killing of animals. Each and every one of us can save 4000 animals from suffering and death just by not eating them. How can you do it? Easy! Check out PETA's :How to go vegan and some recipes from Mercy for Animals Canada.
- Write to Israel's biggest importer of Australian calves, Tnuva, and demand that they stop the live exports.
- Write to the Minister of Agriculture, Yair Shamir, and ask him to stop the live exports from Australia.
- July 30th, 2013 - Channel 10 news item
- Jerusalem Post, "Animal rights activists fight abuse, electrocution of lambs and calves," August 1st, 2013.