The death of 100 calves in an air shipment from Hungary last week – deliveries referred to as live shipments when “death shipments” would be more accurate – led the Agriculture Ministry to order a temporary halt to such shipments until the matter is investigated. This is a welcome move, as is Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel’s declared intention to limit the number of live shipments by air and sea in 2017.
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Although Ariel declared his intent only after MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) submitted a bill in July that would ban live shipments to Israel, one gets the impression that the matter is important to him. “The issue of shipping live animals to Israel from Australia for slaughter is a very painful one and we are working in a variety of ways to reduce it to the minimum possible,” Ariel told the Knesset at the time, adding that regulations were being considered to change the situation.
Zandberg withdrew her bill upon hearing Ariel’s commitment, but after this last incident she plans to resubmit it.
From accumulated experience of the treatment of animals in the meat industry, it seems that Zandberg’s bill is a necessary step. If the guiding principle is to reduce animal suffering to the minimum, obviously it’s better to slaughter animals in their countries of origin and import the meat, rather than subject them to a lengthy journey under subpar conditions so they can be slaughtered in Israel. Abuses in Israeli slaughterhouses that are supposedly under close Agriculture Ministry supervision are exposed regularly. It’s also doubtful that the animals’ suffering can be reduced by regulations governing the technical aspects of live shipments. It would be best to just stop them.
Man sentences animals to death; he is causing the extinction of thousands of species. Man is also causing global warming. The soon-to-be president of the strongest power in the world is a man who denies global warming, a phenomenon that is rapidly destroying the environment, as well as animals’ natural habitats. Along with this “involuntary” activity, man actively raises tens of millions of animals in conditions that could be delicately described as suboptimal so that he can kill them and eat them.
The question of whether man has the right to eat animals is an age-old debate, but no one denies the need to minimize their suffering. Ariel must now prove that he can stand up for those who cannot speak.