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The Israeli High Court has ordered the Agriculture Ministry to respond to claims by animal rights organisations that they are granting licenses for the importation of live animals intended for slaughter.

Anonymous for Animal Rights, Let Animals Live and other animal rights petitioners want to prohibit the provision of such licenses, claiming that they do not meet Animal Welfare Laws.

The animal rights groups, citing Agriculture Ministry data, detailed that in 2016, over 570,000 sheep and cows arrived at Israeli ports from Europe and Australia – nearly double the number for 2015. In the first half of 2017 alone this increased by 20%, with 268,172 sheep and cows were imported for the purpose of slaughter. Around 30% come from Australia, the largest live animal exporter for slaughter in the world, exporting over 3 million animals every year.

The increase has occurred despite pledges from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Uri Ariel, last year to work to restrict live shipments.

Animals shipped live from Australia can be confined on vessels for up to three weeks in cramped, unsanitary conditions resulting in fatal heat stroke due to high temperatures and poor ventilation, salmonellosis, dehydration and severe reactions to ammonia from the high levels of animal waste on board. The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources report that over 20,000 animals die whilst being transported every year.

In a joint statement from Anonymous for Animal Rights and Let Animals Live, they said,

“The court decision raises hope for a better future for animals. More and more Israelis are choosing to stop buying meat and to not finance abusive corporations. But even meat consumers are opposed to live shipments, which are the peak of cruelty. There is no justification for transporting animals from the other side of the world, across lands and seas, wallowing in their secretions on shaky ships.”

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