The raid occurred on Thursday, the ministry said, after intelligence information revealed that the slaughterhouse was conducting schita shechura (“black slaughter”) – an illegal slaughter of animals for human consumption that is conducted without veterinary supervision.
Inspectors from the ministry’s Central Unit for Enforcement and Investigations, in conjunction with Veterinary Services, found that the site located in the Nahal Tzipori area near Nazareth unlawfully possessed its fattened poultry, in addition to implementing the illegal practice.
At the site, the Agriculture Ministry inspectors said they discovered two pirate chicken coops containing about 3,000 birds, which did not meet the requirements of the ministry’s Veterinary Services and were not being operated with the supervision of the ministry.
Nearby the coops, the black slaughter process was occurring in severely poor sanitary conditions, the ministry explained. Because the black slaughter process occurs without veterinary supervision as required, it does not involve the proper identification and separation of poultry parts that are unfit for human consumption and also facilitates contamination of the meat, the ministry added.
“This is a real danger to public health, and therefore we urge the public to purchase poultry and eggs at organized and supervised places only,” said Dr. Shimon Perek, the head veterinarian for poultry health at Veterinary Services.
In addition to constituting a public health hazard, the slaughterhouse also posed significant dangers to the poultry industry, due to the contagious nature of poultry diseases, Perek explained.
“We see it as an obligation to stop the activities on site in order to maintain the health of the Israeli consumer and to prevent real life endangerment,” Perek continued.
By Israeli law, all poultry coops must be registered to and supervised by the Agriculture Ministry, in order to ensure that all stages of food growth are supervised until reaching the customer, the ministry explained. In addition, animals for consumption must be transported to slaughterhouses in an organized and supervised manner.
“The growth of poultry slaughter in poor sanitary conditions is a real danger to public health, and the Agriculture Ministry will work to prevent this phenomenon,” said Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir.
In addition to the problematic slaughter and poultry possession at the lower Galilee site, the farm was also selling about 4,500 unmarked eggs, with unknown origins and lacking veterinary supervision.
These eggs therefore could have been contaminated with salmonella and posed a risk to human life, the ministry explained.
In an initial investigation, the site owner – a Nazareth resident in his 60s – admitted to raising the poultry without supervision, performing black slaughter and smuggling eggs from the Palestinian Authority.
Legal proceedings have begun against him, the ministry added.
“All the birds and eggs at the place were destroyed,” Perek said.
In response to the raid, the organization Anonymous for Animal Rights stressed the “shocking” nature of the conditions at the illegal slaughterhouse.
“The pictures reveal shocking slaughter in shocking sanitary conditions, but we must remember that also in organized slaughterhouses conditions are problematic to say the least,” a statement from the group said. “According to a Veterinary Services report for 2011, 18.2 percent of poultry meat was infected with salmonella, and 95 percent of the samples were infected with E. coli [bacteria found in feces].”
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post