One year after a television expose revealed horrifying animal abuses at Tnuva’s Adom Adom meat processing plant, a new video by investigative journalist Ronan Bar has uncovered maltreatment at another kosher slaughterhouse in Israel.
The tape, which aired on Israeli Channel 10, shows workers at the Soglowek Foods chicken slaughtering plant chasing after escaped birds with a metal hook and one chicken’s head being stuck in equipment and then roughly yanked out, resulting in the bird’s death.
Soglowek management has since issued a statement on the tape. “We regret and apologize for what was shown on current affairs program ‘Kolbotek,’ which doesn’t reflect Soglowek’s spirit and policies,” the statement said. “We view this case with gravity and therefore dealt with it immediately. As soon as we found out we replaced the equipment at the slaughterhouse.”
Bar, who broke the story for “Kolbotek,” acknowledged that the machines were a large part of the animal rights abuses.
“There is a machine that tilts the chicken cages downward to unload them–just like unloading gravel,” he said of the equipment shown in the video. “This leads to an appalling situation in which the machine repeatedly tips the cages, slamming the chickens when they get stuck and don’t fall.”
However, he added that simply changing the equipment does not address the fact that production, rather than animal welfare, is the main concern of the plant.
“They do everything to make sure production moves fast and that output is maximized,” he said.
As a result of the investigative report, animal rights activists have filed a NIS 200 million class action lawsuit charging the Soglowek plant with consumer fraud.
“Had we known that this is how Soglowek treats the chickens on their way to being slaughtered at its plants, wouldn’t have chosen its products and would have preferred buying products of another manufacturer,” read the complaint, submitted to the Tel Aviv District Court by attorney Ram Gorodeisky.
The Agricultural Ministry responded to the growing public concern for the plant by issuing their own statement saying that the Soglowek operation was in compliance with Ministry standards.
“During the last visit, which took place several days ago, there were no signs of physical harm done to chickens or violations of the Animal Protection Law,” a Ministry spokesperson said.