Protesters in Israel Call for End to Australian Live Exports

Animal rights activists have marched in Israel against live exports, seeking to maintain pressure on both governments to end the “cruel industry”.

Protesters gathered in Tel Aviv to call for an end of live animal imports from Australia. Animals Australia said about 3,000 people attended the rally.

Video posted to the Israel Against Live Shipments’ Facebook page shows protesters marching in the streets.

A demonstration was also held in Melbourne, where activists gathered on the steps of the state library on Saturday night. The protest was not specifically aimed at live exports, but rather sought to shine a light on industrialised animal abuse in general.

The protests follow whistleblower footage captured from the Awassi, a live export ship travelling from Fremantle to the Middle East. The footage showed the horrible conditions of filth and extreme heat in which 2,400 sheep died.

The Fremantle protest will coincide with the loading of sheep on to another vessel chartered by the same Perth-based livestock export company exposed by the whistleblower earlier this month.

“Don’t let this ship slip away unnoticed,” Animals Australia urged its supporters in a Facebook post.

“We MUST keep the spotlight on this exporter and on this cruel industry for as long as it takes.”

Israel imported 118,377 Australian sheep in 2016. Sara Netanyahu, wife of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said she was “appalled” by conditions on board live export ships and would speak to Lucy Turnbull about it.

“It really breaks my heart,” she said. “I turned to the PM, my husband, who will do all he can to stop this tremendous cruelty. I also addressed the minister of agriculture, Uri Ariel, and I have no doubt he will do all he can.”

Last week, Ariel said on Facebook he had expressed concerns to his Australian counterpart David Littleproud.

“I explained that there was an intention to significantly reduce the transport of livestock from Australia to Israel,” Ariel wrote.

“I cannot interfere with a delivery while outside the territorial waters of Israel, but there will be an Israel intervention on animal welfare as soon as it reaches the territorial waters of the state of Israel.”