Israel’s public security minister called for a complete halt of live animal shipments from Australia to Israel, following the airing of undercover footage on “60 Minutes” in Israel on Sunday night.
The segment was released by animal rights non-profit Animals Australia, thanks to undercover footage captured by a “concerned crew member”. The footage uncovered the everyday cruelties faced by Australian sheep who are routinely packed into overcrowded transport trucks to be shipped to Israel. In order to fuel both the Israeli and Australian meat industries, the animals are treated no better than cargo. “Sheep are packed so tightly that many can’t lie down to rest. Nor can they access food or water,” according to the non-profit. It adds that the way sheep are treated on these ships is illegal under Australian law.
Sheep forced onto transport trucks are left to stand in their own waste and often vulnerable to heatstroke, a lack of ventilation, exhaustion, and dehydration. Animals Australia reports that more than three million animals died on these ships over the past three years. The charity notes that ewes who are pregnant are also loaded onto ships. Most lambs born on the journey are destined to be “trampled, lose their mothers, or be killed by distressed crew members who are routinely ordered to slit their throats.”
The footage captured by the undercover employee showed 2,400 perished sheep being thrown overboard. After the segment, which aired on Israel’s Hadashot news channel, a veterinarian said,“[the sheep] literally cook from the inside while alive during the journey.”
After the ships have docked in Israel, the animals are then loaded onto transport trucks that can travel for hours to reach either the slaughterhouse or fattening facilities.
Times of Israel reports that public security minister, Gilad Erdan, told the news channel that efforts should be made “to reduce or preferably stop the shipments to Israel and the ‘serious abuse’ of animals involved.”
This is in line with the country’s past statement that it plans to gradually phase out live animal shipments. However, lawmakers from the Lobby for Animal Rights, a cross-party of Knesset, which is the legislative branch of the Israeli government, said in a statement that “the investigation today shows that nothing has changed.”