Israel’s State Comptroller has released its investigative report into the import of live animals, indicating that in many cases the Ministry of Agriculture did not sanction importers or shipowners that did not meet the conditions required for livestock imports. Consequently, the industry has had cases of poor animal welfare and disease outbreaks amongst people and livestock.
The report is the result of a June 2018 request from Israel Against Live Shipments. It reviews alleged disregard for Israel’s veterinary requirements by Romanian exporters, potentially endangering local Israeli flocks. It also alleges tuberculosis has been found in livestock imported from Portugal. In one case, a ship carrying 21,000 calves and lambs was found to have animals infected with the disease which resulted in workers at a slaughterhouse becoming infected.
Around 40 percent of reports made by veterinarians visiting livestock carriers in port that the State Comptroller examined indicated that ship maintenance was poor or that food and water troughs were empty or contaminated. Overcrowding, heat stress and ventilation issues were reported in around a third of the reports. About four percent reported violence, including the use of electric shocks, against livestock.
Israel Against Live Shipments says it contacted the State Comptroller in June 2018 after hundreds of its complaints lodged with the Ministry of Agriculture were not answered or addressed. The State Comptroller’s report indicates that other complaints made by port veterinarians were also ignored.
Israel Against Live Shipments also says that the report report shows that despite a clear decision by the government in 2015 to computerize its ministries, the Ministry of Agriculture still works with outdated forms that prevent the tracking of livestock.
Israel Against Live Shipments is calling on the Israeli government to ban live animal imports.
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