People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia, has called upon Israel to stop importing live animals from Australia. PETA Australia emphasised that live cattle are transported in complete violation of animal rights.
The conditions the cattle endure during their travels to Israel are very grim; many collapse or die from dehydration, suffocation, trampling or disease.
PETA Australia made this demand in a letter addressed to Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz and Environmental Protection Ministry Director-General David Leffler. The organisation also pointed out that huge amount of green house gas emissions is associated with transporting the live animals.
"In view of Israel's efforts to combat climate change and its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we are asking you to take a step that will dramatically decrease your greenhouse-gas emissions: immediately ban the import of live animals from Australia," the letters request stated.
PETA Australia also described in the inhuman conditions under which the animals are transported.
"Animals being forced to stand and lie in their own waste for several weeks should be enough to prompt Israel to get out of the dirty live-imports business", said PETA Australia Director of Campaigns Jason Baker in the letter.
The organisation points out that in 2012 alone, Israel imported more than 64,000 sheep and 50,000 cattle from Australia. These imports generated green house gas emissions that amounted to 50,000 tons, PETA Australia said.
Live exports rank 39 of the list of top 50 carbon dioxide emitters in Australia. This emissions ranking surpasses those of enormous companies in Australia like Virgin Australia, Conoco, BP Regional, Shell and AGL Energy, the letter pointed out.
Recently, an Israeli organization, Anonymous for Animal Rights, had conducted an investigation along with Channel 10 on the abuse of calves and lambs arriving by ships in the country.
In the crowded and dirty conditions, during the journey, many of the animals get sick, die and are thrown to sea. Even the ones that survive the torturous trip face beatings and other abuses, on arrival in Israel, the activist group pointed out.
According to reports, the activist group has urged both the Environment and Agriculture ministers to take action against the import of live animals.
Meanwhile the Israeli government seems to be passing the buck.
The Jerusalem Post reports that, in response to their query, the country's Environment ministry spokesman said the Agriculture ministry was responsible for the welfare of animals.
Further, the spokesman added that due to the abuse and pollution concerns, the ministry had made efforts to ask the Treasury to make the import of live sheep and cattle more difficult. However, the ministry's request had been rejected, the newspaper reported.
When the Post approached the Agriculture ministry, a spokeswoman said officials conducts extensive inspections to ensure proper transportation of live cattle. With regard to greenhouse gas emission, the spokeswoman said it fell within the jurisdiction of the Environment ministry.
In related news, an Australian newspaper reported that a ship carrying over 5000 live cattle to Israel was forced to return to the Fremantle port due to mechanical problems.
With exports climbing to 41 million Australian dollars, Israel is Western Australia's most valuable customer for live cattle in 2012-13.
To contact the editor, e-mail: