THE Israeli parliament voted last week in support of a private member’s bill, through its preliminary reading, to phase out live exports in three years.
While the initial vote was a success with unanimous support, the Knesset House Committee chairman and Lukid MK Miki Zohar’s bill will need to pass three more rounds of voting before it would be passed into law.
The development comes on the back of growing support within Israel for an end to the trade, which began with animal rights groups (including from Australia) who have been engaging Israeli’s for the past five years to sway public opinion.
They used footage of the Awassi Express incident in 2017 to promote their agenda which has helped the cause gain traction.
In May, 60 senior Rabbis signed a letter saying live exports were against the Torah and amounted to animal cruelty.
In July a petition was signed by 228 lawyers to stop the trade because they said it breached the country’s legislation on animal rights.
Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chairman David Stoate said it was a “worrying development” but he was unsure what was going to happen as the process still had a long way to go.
“You would think they would have more to deal with in Israel than this type of thing,” Mr Stoate said.
He said Israel was an important market for cattle out of the Pilbara and Kimberley that were not suitable for markets in Indonesia and South East Asia.
Mr Stoate said if the trade was eventually phased out it would be one less market for Australian cattle and would possibly impact on prices.
“It is not a big market but it is an important market,” he said
There are about five Australian exporters that supply markets within Israel, from properties mainly below the Bluetongue Zone line.
At the end of October a total of 36,812 feeder cattle were exported to Israel.
The number is up on last year’s figure at 32,405 but way down on the highest number recorded in 2013, which was 98,320 head of cattle.
In the 12 months to October 87,239 head of sheep were also exported to Israel.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.