IN THE NEWS: On JUN 3, 2019
Environmental group says cow possibly thrown overboard from ship carrying live animals to Israel for slaughter.
A dead calf washed up on a Tel Aviv beach on Saturday, shocking bathers. Waves brought the carcass into the shallow waters off Tzuk beach in the north of the city.
Animals (formerly Anonymous for Animal Rights), a rights group, said ships often dump sick or wounded animals into the sea, sometimes when they were still alive.
Nearly 50,000 live calves were shipped to Israel for fattening and slaughter in January alone.
Last year, the Knesset green-lighted a bill in its preliminary reading to stop the live transports of hundreds of thousands of lambs and calves from Australia and Europe to Israel each year.
The proposed legislation seeks to gradually reduce livestock numbers being imported into Israel and to stop them completely within three years, moving entirely to the import of chilled meat.
According to the bill's explanatory notes, animals on livestock transports are subject to severe overcrowding, become drenched in their and other animals' feces and suffer from heat overload and from severe injuries resulting from being shaken around by the waves.
Many of them become ill or do not survive the journey.
A ministerial committee gave the go-ahead for the bill last July, after which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uploaded a photograph of a calf covered in excrement and wrote, "We approved at the Knesset Committee for Legislation a bill to stop the live shipments to Israel.
"We have to properly correct the great pain being caused to animals."
Last July, 228 lawyers signed a petition calling for live shipments to be stopped, saying they contravened legislation on animal rights. In May 2018, 60 senior rabbis signed a letter that said it was "neither the way of the Torah nor of human morality to allow such cruelty to animals."
Nevertheless, 685,000 calves and lambs were shipped to Israel in 2018, compared with around 500,000 in 2017 — a rise of 37 percent.
Protests in Israel — led by the NGOs Animals and Let Animals Live, intensified following an expose in April by Animals Australia, broadcast on Australian TV's "60 Minutes," into the appalling conditions in which sheep were shipped to the Middle East on weeks-long journeys.
On one of the journeys documented, 2,400 sheep perished and were thrown overboard.