Netanyahu Rejects Canceling Import Duties on Calves, Asks Lapid to Consult With Animal Rights Groups

Finance minister pushing to end import taxes to lower Israel’s meat and dairy prices.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Australian livestock. Protesters want live animal exports to be banned.
Australian livestock. Protesters want live animal exports to be banned.Credit: Reuters
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

The cabinet failed to approve Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s proposal to cancel import duties on imported live calves at its weekly meeting on Sunday morning.

At the request of Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervened and asked Lapid not to sign new regulations that would cancel the duties until after holding a meeting with animal rights groups and hears what they have to say on the matter.

Netanyahu expressed his concerns over the suffering of the calves during their transportation to Israel, and asked Lapid to report to him on the results of the meeting with the organizations.

The finance, economy and agriculture ministries established a joint team to prepare a plan for lowering meat and dairy prices; canceling import duties on live calves was one of its recommendations. In addition, the committee decided to appropriate some 30 million shekels ($8.7 million) to support the cattle-grazing industry and for marketing the sale of fresh beef. The committee also decided to allocate another 65 million shekels to support the dairy-farming sector.

Israel imports over 100,000 sheep and calves from Australia every year.

The initial proposal was met with fierce opposition by animal rights and environmental groups, with a demonstration being held outside Lapid’s home. Peretz also criticized the plan, saying the livestock’s suffering increases the further they are transported, and that international experts recommend raising and slaughtering the calves in the same place. In addition, encouraging meat consumption has serious environmental implications, as the meat industry – and beef industry in particular – is responsible for a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world, as well as other pollutants.

The organizations Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let the Animals Live said they hoped the proposal would be dropped, and that the government will completely ban shipments of livestock from Europe and Australia. Australia’s Agriculture Ministry reported that almost 15,000 animals died during such shipments to Asia and the Middle East last year, said the organizations.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can