Cruelty charges laid after Israel live export exposé

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 2 October 2013

A hidden camera exposé of a live-export-approved slaughterhouse in Israel has led to four employees being charged with animal cruelty.

In October 2012, alarming video evidence emerged showing Australian cattle being punched, kicked, beaten and enduring excessive shocks with electric prods inside the Bakar Tnuva abattoir.

The suffering of one frightened bull was particularly distressing. After collapsing to the ground, he was poked needlessly with an electrified prod over 100 times — in his face, eyes, ears, anus and genitals — the entire time bellowing in pain and distress as he made futile attempts to escape his tormentor.

At the end of their ordeal, cattle faced a terrifying death inside a ‘full inversion slaughter box’ — condemned by experts as cruel and illegal in Australia, but still permitted under Australia’s live export rules.

These shocking scenes would never have come to light were it not for the brave actions of one Israeli journalist who filmed covertly while working undercover at the abattoir.

Inconceivably, just two months before routine cruelty was documented, auditors found Bakar Tnuva ‘compliant’ with the new Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. In fact the only non-compliance picked up in the audit was a ‘rusty gate’.

When indisputable evidence of cruelty was brought before the Australian Government in late 2012, an official investigation was ordered. Despite the clear failure of the previous audit to identify risks and problems, the primary recommendation from this four-month long investigation was, incomprehensibly, another audit.

The Israeli Government has taken the matter more seriously, mounting a cruelty prosecution against three workers and the plant manager at Bakar Tnuva.

Wherever animals are handled and slaughtered en masse there will be suffering and the ever-present risk of cruelty. This incident highlights that the responsibility for approving abattoirs should rest with an authority independent of the live export industry — not auditors who are chosen, paid for and who report directly to the exporter.

Until that time, brave individuals and charities will be forced to remain the watch dogs of the live export trade, risking their own safety through conducting undercover investigations.

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Our heartfelt thanks to the brave investigators at Anonymous for Animal Rights in Israel who exposed the cruetly Australian animals were being subjected to in Bakar Tnuva and whose relentless efforts are ensuring justice is served.