Author Topic: Undercover investigation in large Israeli chicken slaughterhouse reveals abuse  (Read 508 times)

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An undercover investigation at a large Israeli chicken slaughterhouse reveals animal abuse and raise questions on Kashrut issues

Anonymous for Animal Rights' undercover investigation exposes routine abuse of chickens and turkeys at the Soglowek slaughterhouse, one of Israel's largest chicken slaughterhouses. The findings were broadcasted Tuesday night on Israeli Channel 10 investigative program Kolbotek. The findings raise question regarding the Kashrut status of the place. Soglowek holds an export license and its products are approved by the USDA.

Watch some of the footage taken at Soglowek:

An undercover investigation at the "Soglowek" slaughterhouse reveals severe abuse of chickens and turkeys. Israeli Channel 10 reporter and Anonymous for Animal Rights activist Ronen Bar documented the daily routines at one of Israel's largest chicken slaughterhouses. Among other things, chickens were filmed being thrown from great heights onto a conveyor belt leading to the slaughter station; some, who got stuck in the transport cages grille, get hung in the air by their heads, feet or wings until being pulled by employees and thrown onto the moving belt.

Soglowek slaughterhouse holds an export license, and the company's products are approved by the USDA, and sold in the USA under the OU Kashruth labels. They also received the strict ISO 9002 certification for implementing advanced production methods, as well as the HACCP certification for quality procedures.

The findings in Soglowek's slaughterhouse raise questions regarding Jewish law and the Kashrut of meat produced there. At least three different class-action claims were filed against Soglowek this morning by customers who claim that the company made them complicits with animal abuse against their will.  Some of the plaintiffs further claim that as people who keep to Kosher food, their religious beliefs were violated, as Soglowek made them consume food that might not be Kosher.

A year ago, during the previous Anonymous exposé of Israel's largest cow and sheep slaughterhouse, severe abuse of calves and lambs was documented. In that case extremely violent behaviour was documented, including hard beatings, repeated electrocution of calves all over their bodies, and dragging of sick calves, unable to stand, by a forklift. Four slaughterhouse staff and managers have been indicted for animal abuse in this case. Following that exposé the then-Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger, said that Kashruth supervisors should declare the meat of animals who underwent abuse non-Kosher. Rabbi Mahfud claimed then that the Kashruth label should be removed from any place that abuses animals.

Another Kashrut concern relates to the throwing chickens from such great heights. This raises concerns about possible injuries they might suffer as a result – which might, if not detected, render the meat tref (the special concern regarding the Kashrut of chickens that suffered a fall is governed by the  Halakhic rule on "Nefolah").

Non-profit organizations "Anonymous for Animal Rights" and "Let Animals Live" contacted the Ministry of Agriculture immediately after the Channel 10 show, demanding to suspend the transport licenses to that slaughterhouse and to shut it down.

The organizations claim that using the machine which tilts chicken cages and throws the chickens onto the conveyor belt en route to their slaughtering infringes the Animal Welfare Law (Chicken Transport Regulations).

"Chickens fall from the cage onto the conveyor belt, sometimes from great heights: One on top of the other, one underneath another, a terrified mass of fluttering wings and flying feathers", says this complaint.

Sometimes chickens are caught in the cage grille, unable to get free. "Workers keep tilting the cage in a way that forces it against the machine wall, and then again and again, tilting and shaking, until the only chickens remaining in the cage are whose body parts are stuck there so hard that no tilting would remove them. These chickens are hang from above, held by their heads, feet or wings, forcefully shaken each time the cage is tilted, shaken and smashed."

The animal rights organizations  also point at the long waiting periods of the chickens in the packed cages – up to 19 hours - also an infringement of the Law. The transport trucks arrive at the slaughterhouse at 8-9 in the evening, yet the actual slaughtering only begins the next day. "All that time, the chickens get neither food nor water. The turkeys especially were seen heavily panting with their beaks wide open. All that time the chickens cannot even stand straight in their low-ceilinged cages. Sometimes they're stuck in the grille unable to move. At times they're wounded and bleeding. Sometimes they suffer from pecking by the other chickens imprisoned with them – all frustrated, dehydrated, hungry and thirsty."

The findings of the investigation:
-           Hours in filthy cages. Chickens are held in packed, faeces-filled cages for many hours. They don't get water, food or veterinary treatment.

-           Thrown from the cages onto a conveyor belt. A tilting machine throws the caged chickens from a great height one on top of the other. Some get caught in the cages – they're left hanging by their heads, feet or wings caught in the cage's grille, sometimes wounded and bleeding.

-           Employees kick the chickens and throw them in the air. The slaughterhouse staff catch fallen chickens, drag them on the ground, kick them or throw them in the air.

-           Concern about Kashruth laws infringement. The findings raise again the question whether it is permitable under Jewish Law to eat meat produced by infringement of the Jewish law against animal abuse.

Questions are also raised regarding the concern that throwing the animals from great heights might cause them injuries that, if not detected, might render the meat non-Kosher.

-           Chickens still twitching a long time after being slaughtered. Turkeys were documented twitching in metal containers after their throats were cut, some in full consciousness, while trying to get free.
For details, images and interviews: Hila Keren +972-(0)54-6256878

« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 01:02:56 AM by WA Export News »