The Agriculture Ministry on Thursday closed down a slaughterhouse in the northern city of Haifa and launched an investigation into its practices following a television report showing workers abusing animals before killing them.
Following footage shown on Channel 2 on Wednesday night, the ministry announced it had ordered the Haifa Slaughterhouse closed with immediate effect. It said it had summoned the management of the facility to a hearing next week.
Channel 2 screened footage taken with hidden cameras showing workers stabbing animals with long sticks or giving them electric shocks to move quickly them through to the area where they were actually killed.
In some cases workers jumped on the backs of the calves and kicked and stabbed them. In other scenes workers gave them shocks even when they were not trying to move them.
The ministry said that it had inspected the slaughterhouse in the wake of the television report and found flaws in both the sanitary conditions and in terms of animal abuse, leading to the decision to immediately shutter the facility.
The ministry appealed to the public for information about any instances of animal cruelty witnessed at the site.
The slaughterhouse said on Wednesday in response to the Channel 2 report that it would take steps to improve any issues it found after reviewing the footage.
“It is no secret that the activities in a slaughterhouse, by their nature, are not pleasant viewing,” the statement from the slaughterhouse read. “However, the Haifa Slaughterhouse follows strict guidelines of the Health Ministry, Veterinary Services and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The place is monitored continuously and in real time by all regulators.
“After we watch the report and examine it, we will work to fix any defect that may be found,” it said. “If any improper or inappropriate behavior is discovered, it will obviously be dealt with very seriously.”
The Haifa Slaughterhouse is the third biggest abattoir in the country, providing some 20 percent of meat in the Israeli market.