What are live shipments?
"Live shipments" is the accepted term for a cruel practice in which animals bred for the meat industry are transported, while still alive, by ships or planes from far-off countries to be slaughtered in Israel.
During the journeys, which may last for many weeks at sea, the animals – mostly lambs and calves – are exposed to extreme violence, disease and even death.
In addition to severe injury to the animals themselves, reports in Israel and elsewhere have shown that live shipments pose a health threat to the environment in Israel and the people and animals living there,
Direct harm to the victims of the live shipments themselves includes the following:
1. Brutalization of the animals during unloading: Since the animals arriving in the shipments are young, confused and exhausted from the journey, the workers often beat them to speed them up when moving them from the ship to the trucks, from the truck to the quarantine facilities, etc.). Our records show that in almost every encounter between workers and animals, violence is used against animals, whether using hands, feet, iron clubs, spikes, or electric prods, and body organs are deliberately crushed.
2. Mortality during and after the journey: Since our organization was founded, we have received many reports of carcasses of calves and lambs in the Mediterranean and on its shores, after they were dumped from the ships. In addition, in our frequent visits to the quarantine facilities to which animals are brought upon arrival in Israel and in the feedlots, where the animals are sent after the quarantine period, carcasses of calves and lambs are regularly documented. Reports that the Ministry of Agriculture has been forced to publish indicate that hundreds of animals die every year, and we know for sure that the published figures are lower than the actual mortality rates.
Upon arrival in Israel, the animals are transferred to quarantine facilities for eight days, in order to control for disease.
During visits we make to the facilities, we repeatedly find that the dead animals are held in such conditions that make autopsy results impossible. In other words, attempted observation of diseases is futile, useless and is, in effect, a rubber stamp.
The environmental and economic implications of the quarantine stations:
1. Pests: Residents living near the quarantine facilities have produced evidences of an unusually large number of flies, mosquitoes, mice, rats, pigeons and more.
2. Odor hazards: The presence of tens of thousands of calves and lambs in the quarantine station after they have been lying in their own excrement during the voyage , which may have lasted many weeks, is a very serious odor hazard in areas adjacent to the removal, and may even reach kilometers away.
3. Wastewater: The import of hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep each year is harmful to the ecological systems in Israel, due to the production of huge quantities of feces and the filtering of urine into the ground water.
Health Hazards of Live Shipments
1. An Australian veterinarian who has worked on dozens of live shipments voyages, has warned repeatedly of the health hazards of life transports. In a series of articles, Dr. Lynn Simpson warns of zoonotic diseases, (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) and the threat to animals in Israel. The hundreds of thousands of potential carriers of disease – even anthrax – brought to Israel each year increases, the risk to Israeli residents and animals.
2. Since the purpose of quarantine is to allow the authorities to observe and detect disease, importers are finding it difficult to find a place for new quarantine stations due to objections of residents and local authorities. It is sufficient to mention the Ramle quarantine, which was closed following a petition by the municipality to the High Court of Justice, the Kfar Daniel quarantine, which was brought to the High Court of Justice following an attempted quick implementation without the appropriate certificates, as well as additional quarantine facilities that were supposed to be introduced at Hof Hacarmel and Ein Yahav.
3. Among the quarantine facilities that are currently in operation, it is important to note that 3 of the 7 are located in settlements or close proximity to civilians, and it is doubtful whether they know the great risk involved.
4. Seven of the eight quarantine facilities are privately owned, some of them by the importers themselves. From the moment the state allowed the importers to manage their own facilities, it de facto privatized them and abandoned public health by allowing the cat to guard the cream. The potential dangers of not actually supervising the hundreds of thousands of animals coming to Israel each year are disastrous and we are all sitting on a ticking time bomb.
After quarantine, most animals are transferred to feedlots to gain weight before slaughter. Our documenting teams in the feedlots repeatedly show that the animals are seriously neglected, drowning in feces, suffering from serious injuries, and constantly lacking water and shade.
Every live shipment station is a moral crime – the live shipments must be stopped.