Compliance Review Report 30: Cattle exported to Israel

​Summary

On 9 April 2014 the Department of Agriculture received a report from Animals Australia alleging non-compliance with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) and the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) for cattle in Israel. The report related to animal welfare concerns during the unloading of a consignment of cattle, exported by Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), from the MV Ghena at the Port of Eilat, Israel on 3 March 2014.

The focus of the review was to determine if the handling of cattle shown in the video was consistent with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare requirements as set out in the ESCAS animal welfare checklist for cattle and buffalo.

LSS acknowledged that there were elements of poor animal handling observed in the video. LSS also noted that the individuals in the video are local stevedores, who report to the local authorities, and not members of the MV Ghena’s crew or LSS staff. LSS advised that it is the policy of the MV Ghena and LSS, that at no time are officers or crew allowed to stress, hurt or harm livestock at any time during the voyage, including unloading.

The department’s review of the video concluded that there were elements of poor animal handling including kicking and punching of animals whilst they were unloaded from the ship and loaded onto trucks. The report also alleged an electronic prodder was used on the animals; however the department was unable to confirm this from the video provided.

The department has referred the matter to the local authorities in Israel.

1. Introduction

On 9 April 2014 the Department of Agriculture received a report from Animals Australia alleging non-compliance with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) and the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) for cattle in Israel. The report related to animal welfare concerns during the unloading of a consignment of cattle, exported by Livestock Shipping Services (LSS), from the MV Ghena at the Port of Eilat, Israel on 3 March 2014.

This is the third report made to the department about poor animal handling practices at the Port of Eilat, Israel. The other two reports were received by the department in June and July 2013. The finalised report is available at Compliance Investigation Reports 15 and 16: Sheep and Cattle Exported to Israel - January 2014.

The focus of the review was to determine if the handling of cattle shown in the video was consistent with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare requirements as set out in the ESCAS animal welfare checklist for cattle and buffalo.

2. Review Findings

LSS exported 12 566 feeder cattle and 14 000 feeder sheep to Israel on the MV Ghena on 7 February 2014. Unloading at the Port of Eilat began on 1 March 2014 and was completed on 3 March 2014. The department was provided with approximately four and a half minutes of video showing the unloading of cattle, which was edited to show specific incidents.

The department wrote to LSS and requested information relevant to the review, including comment on the allegations and video. LSS acknowledged that there were elements of poor animal handling observed in the video. LSS noted that the individuals in the video are local stevedores and not members of the MV Ghena’s crew or LSS staff. LSS advised that it is the policy of the MV Ghena and LSS, that at no time are officers or crew allowed to stress, hurt or harm livestock at any time during the voyage, including unloading. The crew and onboard stockman are also prevented from using hard implements or electric prodders to encourage animals to move.

LSS also advised the department that discharge in Israel is supervised by a local authorities. LSS is working with the importer and local authorities to address the issues of animal handling improvement.

The department’s review of the video concluded that there were elements of poor animal handling including kicking and punching of animals whilst they were unloaded from the ship and loaded onto trucks. The report also alleged an electronic prodder was used on the animals; however the department was unable to confirm this from the video provided.

3. Review Conclusions

The review of the video by the department concluded that some handling practices shown during the unloading of the MV Ghena on 3 March 2014, did not comply with points of the ESCAS ‘Guidance on Meeting OIE Code Animal Welfare Outcomes for Cattle and Buffalo’ including:

  • 1.1 the movement of livestock is carried out calmly and effectively – the video shows instances where the movement of livestock is ineffective, such as workers moving into the flight zone of cattle, kicking cattle and putting unnecessary pressure on cattle.
  • 2.8 Livestock are loaded and unloaded from vehicles in a calm and efficient manner – the video shows cattle being hit or stressed unnecessarily when loaded on to trucks.

The department has referred the matter to the local authorities in Israel for their information and any action they see fit.

4. Regulatory Actions

For all consignments discharging in Israel, the department applied the following conditions from December 2013:

  • The AAV is responsible for directly supervising or ensuring an accredited stockman directly supervises the discharge of all livestock at all ports in Israel.
  • The end of voyage report to the department must include information on the livestock handling practices employed during discharge at all ports in Israel, including who supervised and when, issues identified, and how were they managed/rectified.

Five vessels have discharged in Israel since the additional conditions were implemented. The department has received and assessed end of voyage reports for each voyage. No major issues have been noted during discharge. The department will continue to monitor and work closely with exporters on this issue.

No additional regulatory actions were taken during the review.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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