Israeli NGOs Petition High Court to Close Tnuva Slaughterhouse After TV Expose

Expose showed alleged acts that would constitute violations of the Cruelty to Animals Law, of slaughtering regulations and of international slaughterhouse standards.

Two nonprofits petitioned the High Court of Justice Wednesday asking it to order the immediate closure of Tnuva's Adom Adom slaughterhouse in Beit She'an, following a television expose alleging serious animal abuse there.

Anonymous and Let the Animals Live were responding to a report by the Channel 2 program Kolbotek, whose undercover researcher worked at the plant for a month and documented the alleged use of electric cattle prods, rods and ropes to control the cattle. This would constitute violations of the Cruelty to Animals Law, of slaughtering regulations and of international slaughterhouse standards.

The director of the Agriculture Ministry's Veterinary Service, Dr. Nadav Galon, has summoned the four veterinarians employed at the plant to a hearing today to discuss the allegations, which seem to point to their failing in their duty to protect public health and prevent animal abuse.

After the hearing, Galon has the authority to take disciplinary action against the veterinarians and can even dismiss them.

Although some steps have been taken against the slaughterhouse, the ministry has not closed it. In yesterday's petition the two groups argue that the plant can't continue to operate when a police investigation is ongoing, no conclusions have been drawn regarding worker training, and the supervision and structural deficiencies have not been corrected.

The petition is based on the testimony of Ronen Bar, the Kolbotek researcher and Anonymous activist who worked in the plant and documented the alleged abuse with a hidden camera. The petitioners included a video disk with the petition and urged the judges to watch it.

According to the petition, the beating of animals with sticks, pipes and electric shocks "was not exceptional, but was methodical, routine and continuous. The animals suffered electric shocks to all their body parts, including their heads, faces and testicles."

Ofer Vaknin