|On Tuesday, November 15 2005 the Israeli parliament's
education committee approved regulations prohibiting
some of the serious abuses of veal calves. The new
regulations make keeping calves in solitary confinement
and the denial of drinking water illegal. In addition,
the regulations specify a minimal level of hemoglobin
in the blood and a minimal intake of fiber in the
calves' nutrition. They also include requirement
with regard to ventilation and footing material.
The new regulations are similar to the EU
directive laying down the minimum standards
for the protection of calves, and in several respects
(such as minimal cell dimensions) they are even
superior to it.
This achievement is a result of a campaign initiated by Anonymous for Animal Rights in May 2001. The organization's investigation team secretly documented the harsh conditions in which the calves were kept. The disturbing images were spread by the media, and Anonymous filed an animal abuse complaint against owners with the police. As a result of this complaint, a committee was appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture to formulate recommendations for keeping standards. Its recommendations were submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture in June 2002. However, the recommendations were left to gather dust by the Ministry of Agriculture, which was reluctant to act on them. In September 2003, a demonstration organized by Anonymous took place in a veal farm in protest of the foot dragging on the part of the ministry. During this demonstration the dehydrated calves were given drinking water. The demonstration was widely covered by the media, including by the most widely viewed television news show.
In June 2005 the Ministry of Agriculture submitted draft regulations to the parliament's education committee, which allowed a 10 year transition period before the change to the confinement facilities was to take place. The lobbying on the part of Anonymous with committee members secured a rejection of the draft, and the Ministry of Agriculture was required to shorten the transition period as a prerequisite for the endorsement of the regulations. The ministry promised to submit revised regulations within a month, but again resorted to foot dragging. In October 2005 an online petition was launched by Anonymous in protest of the foot dragging, which was signed by about 8000 individuals. In the end of the month demonstrations in six major cities across the country took place. On November 15 the revised regulations, shortening the transition period to 3 years, were finally submitted. The requirement to provide the calves with drinking water without limitation (an extremely important requirement given the hot Israeli weather) came into force immediately.
Reut Horn, Anonymous spokeswoman: "The regulations approved by the education committee do reduce significantly the suffering of the calves – no more dehydration and solitary confinement – and Anonymous, which has fought for these changes naturally regards them favorably. However, this industry still causes immense suffering to these calves and denies them basic rights, like other animal-based industries."
Anonymous for Animal Rights is thankful to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) who has sponsored the campaign and made this important achievement possible.
Pictures of veal calves in Israel: http://www.anonymous.org.il/e-pic-veal.htm
Pictures of the Anonymous demonstration in a veal farm: http://www.anonymous.org.il/pic-batsra.htm
Anonymous website in English: http://www.anonymous.org.il/english.htm
For comments and further information please use the following to contact us:
Anonymous for Animal Rights
P.O. Box 11915, Tel-Aviv 61119, Israel
Tel +972-36204878, Fax +972-36204717