Israel Police Confiscate Electric Cattle Prod in Tnuva Abuse Case

Investigation into alleged abuse of calves at the Adom Adom slaughterhouse in Beit She'an continues, as additional employees to be questioned Wednesday.

Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior

Police are continuing to investigate the alleged abuse of calves at the Adom Adom slaughterhouse in Beit She'an following a Channel 2 expose accusing the Tnuva-owned facility of tormenting animals. Investigators have confiscated the electric cattle-shocker prod allegedly used to abuse the calves, as well as rods and ropes.

Employees at the slaughterhouse who were directly or indirectly implicated in the case, including the plant's manager and safety director, have been interrogated. Additional employees are expected to be questioned Wednesday.

The probe of the slaughterhouse, which is owned by the Tnuva dairy company, is being carried out in cooperation with the Agriculture and Environmental Protection ministries. It was prompted by an expose on Channel 2's investigative program Kolbotek, which purportedly showed the slaughterhouse's safety director instructing an undercover researcher on how to use an electric shocker to force the calves to move more quickly.

The production staff of the Kolbotek program has provided investigators with the complete video footage shot by the undercover investigator, who wore a hidden camera. The investigator worked at the Adom Adom plant for a month, and is expected to be the primary witness against those accused of animal abuse.

The head of the Agriculture Ministry's veterinary service, Nadav Galon, also summoned the four veterinarians employed at the slaughterhouse to appear at a hearing on the matter tomorrow, a preliminary step that must be held before any formal action can be taken against them. Galon may have the authority to terminate the veterinarians' employment at the slaughterhouse.

The Kolbotek expose has also made waves in Australia, the country that supplied the calves to the Beit She'an slaughterhouse. Phillip Glyde, deputy secretary at Australia's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has ordered an investigation into the matter, and animal welfare organizations in Australia are demanding that the export of animals from Australia to Israel be suspended, a request supported by the Israeli group Anonymous for Animal Rights.

Australia suspended animal shipments to Indonesia in the past, when an investigative program exposed abuse of Australian animals exported there. Following that case, Australia enacted regulations limiting the country's animal exports and requiring the Australian livestock industry to track the fate of exported animals, including their condition aboard ships and at the slaughterhouses.

The Kolbotek program featured a worker at the Adom Adom plant who said that when Australian investigators visited the Beit She'an plant, the use of electric cattle shockers was suspended for two weeks.

Israel's Agriculture Ministry has said that, based on the Kolbotek report, the veterinarians do appear to have violated their responsibility to properly oversee the facility and prevent animal abuse.

Cattle waiting to be slaughtered. Credit: Yaron Kaminsky