Israel Moves to Install Cameras in Slaughterhouses to Prevent Cruelty

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A scene from the Channel 2 report showing goats in an overcrowded pen at the Dabbah slaughterhouse. Credit: Channel 2

The Agriculture Ministry has issued a tender to install cameras in 49 slaughterhouses in an effort to prevent cruelty to animals there.

The tender solicit bids to supply, install and maintain some 400 closed-circuit cameras and 50 digital recording systems in the slaughterhouses.

The cameras and recorders will feed into a central control room to be set up by the ministry’s veterinary service. Currently, such cameras, where they exist, are only monitored by a slaughterhouse’s in-house inspectors.

Moreover, until now, cameras were required only in slaughterhouses that specialize in cows. The new tender includes 13 slaughterhouses that specialize in chickens.

By the end of next year, every slaughterhouse in Israel will be equipped with cameras, the ministry said. But the tender noted that regulations governing the program had not yet been finalized, so the process was starting out small.

The ministry said every slaughterhouse would have about eight cameras, though some may require more. The cameras would enable both real-time viewing and replays, while including technology that can identify unusual incidents.

“Installing cameras in slaughterhouses is a necessary step that will increase supervision and deterrence,” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who has been pushing the move, said yesterday.

Still, ministry regulations require the veterinarian supervising each slaughterhouse to spend only five minutes a day reviewing the footage. And no one else will have access to the footage.

Animal rights groups welcomed the ministry’s efforts but said animal rights activists should also be able to view the footage in light of the veterinary service’s “ongoing failure” to enforce the laws against animal abuse.

Two years ago, after serious animal abuse was discovered at the Adom Adom plant, the ministry pledged to install cameras in every slaughterhouse. The butchers and the slaughtering companies objected, but investigative reporters have since discovered other cases of animal abuse at slaughterhouses.

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