In 1969 I realized the second of my lifelong dreams (the first was to come to Israel), and our family of six moved to a moshav. I had no idea that my lifestyle would be shocked into an irrevocable change.
I had no previous experience of husbandry although I love animals and read a lot about them. As a youngster, my husband had spent time on kibbutzim and moshavim, but we decided it was best to follow the advice of a consultant from the Ministry of Agriculture.
On his advice we began to raise goats for milk and heifers for breeding, and to grow flowers and vegetable crops. We also bought two-day-old male calves which I took care of, nursing them with lots of petting and antibiotics if necessary. When they were weaned, we released them from their small pens into a larger one where they could move around freely. They often ate tidbits out of my hand and I continued to pet them, but didn't go into the pen as they seemed to be getting heavier by the day.
When they were 13 months old, I regretfully helped to load them onto transport for their last journey – to the slaughter-house near Kiryat Malachi.
It was shocking! As we came in, the animals smelt the blood and became panicky, moving restlessly, kicking and bawling, with wildly-rolling eyes. They were unloaded into a chute and when they reared and tried to get out they were prodded on by shocks from electric rods. A gate at the end of the chute let one animal out at a time into a small section with sloping sides so that the only place for their feet was in a narrow opening at the bottom. This closed and clamped onto their feet. Then the sides of the chute tipped over, became horizontal and continued to turn. The terrified young bull was lifted into the air with his head hanging down.
The overhead pulleys moved their load through a thick plastic curtain and brought an empty chute through another one. I was thankful I didn't see what happened in there.
We never raised calves again and I have not eaten meat of any kind since then.
December 10, 2012 was International Animal Rights Day. Stirring demonstrations were held worldwide, with the largest being in Dublin, London, Madrid and Marineland, Canada.
I had never been to a demonstration of any sort before and I was very impressed. That day, I attended two of them.
The first was held in Tel Aviv on the corner of Ben Zion Boulevard and King George Street. The demonstration was against the cruelty and suffering of animals being slaughtered, following the television program which had shown the atrocities committed in Tnuva's abattoir at Beit She'an.
For more than two hours some 300 people stood in the sun waving placards and banners and chanting slogans, accompanied by my daughter, Lior, myself and others on our drums. Passing cars hooted their support, the event was filmed and photographed by several local and national news media and we were joined by actress Orna Banai.
Hagai Cohen from Anonymous, the leading Animal Rights organization in Israel, said: “We must remember that if these seem to be the procedures and guidelines at the largest and most advanced slaughterhouse in Israel, the grave abuse that we have seen in the Kolbotek investigation is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Pamphlets and recipes for vegetarian meals were handed out, many people signed up to receive news of future demonstrations and to make donations, and several inspiring speeches were made urging people to boycott Tnuva's products, especially in the light of their "Adom Adom" campaign to get more people to eat red meat.
The PETA Organization (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has done wonders to protect, improve the lot and alleviate the suffering of animals. In 2004, a hidden video camera at the largest kosher slaughter-house in America, AgriProcessors, recorded atrocities, and an investigation was demanded.
As is well known, Judaism abjures cruelty to animals and enjoins us to be as humane as possible in our legitimate utilization of them. That ritual slaughter (shechita) is a very humane method of slaughtering animals has been substantiated over the past century by numerous scholarly articles and scientific opinions.
Slaughtering animals for human consumption is never a pretty sight. An abattoir is obviously a place where one will see living, vibrant animals transformed into meat. This is generally a bloody and unpleasant experience, but it is universal. Indeed, PETA acknowledges that the shechita process is better than most general slaughtering.
During shechita, the carotid arteries, which are the main suppliers of blood to the brain, are severed. This results in an immediate and massive drop in blood pressure, which renders the animal insensate in a matter of seconds. At AgriProcessors, as at other plants, a second cut is made in the carotid arteries to facilitate and accelerate the bleeding. This secondary cut is both approved and encouraged by the USDA. The OU (Orthodox Union) and AgriProcessors have concluded that this cut will now be made without excising the trachea.
Kosher slaughter, done correctly, is kinder and quicker than standard slaughter methods in the United States.
In response to OU statements, PETA set out eight conditions for AgriProcessors to meet where humane treatment is concerned(see www……..).
The OU cannot mollify people who oppose cruelty to animals, without explaining explicitly what steps are being taken to end the horrific cruelty to animals at AgriProcessors, and those steps will have to include the eight conditions, which are the barest of bare minimums for an organization that presents kosher slaughter in such terms as 'painless ritual fashion' and 'instantaneous death with no pain to the animal’. After a hasty cup of coffee, four of us drove out to Savyon, some 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, where we joined a small group of demonstrators and stood for two hours in pelting rain and/or a chilling wind near the home of MP Gilad Erdan (Likud), Minister for Environmental Protection (we were prevented by the police from getting too close) to demand the closing of Chavat Mazor.
They import baby monkeys which have been torn from their mothers' arms in various countries, are bred time and time again and the offspring are sent away, mostly to the States, to be exploited for laboratory experiments and poison tests.
Before the previous elections, Mr. Erdan had promised that the then-current batch of animals awaiting sale would not be exported, nor would any be in the future. This was not adhered to. Not only were they sold but more helpless and lonely little monkeys were brought in, making the total number at the farm at present – an unbelievable 1,800 animals.
This farm has been in existence for 21 years.
To the country's shame, NO media coverage was present.
The rain and wind became stronger, and still the demonstrators remained, chanting slogans along with our drums, and jumping around to keep warm.
One of the organizers was on a hunger strike which she intended to continue until the Minister ordered the Farm to close down, and caring homes to be found for hapless inmates.
Please think about animals that cannot speak for themselves and tell us of the agony they are suffering.