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AR Protest in Tel Aviv

Date: Monday, December 14, 2009, 6:44 PM

  Anonymous for Animal Rights will held two protest presentations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Monday, highlighting the "horrors" of the industrial meat and egg industries.

Protesters in Tel Aviv.
Photo: Doveret Anonymous

SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region | World The presentations are among the events marking International Animal Rights Day, which was December 10.

Anonymous has recently achieved a major legal victory in its battle to outlaw "battery cages" for egg laying hens. The Supreme Court issued an interim injunction prohibiting the use of NIS 300 million out of an NIS 700 million Agriculture Ministry reform plan, which would have made extensive use of battery cages.

Battery cages have already been outlawed in 30 countries and will be entirely banned in the EU by 2012, according to the NGO. The wire cages provide less than its own body-width of room to each hen. The cages have slanted floors to enable the eggs to roll down, but this means that the hens live their entire lives without the benefit of a flat floor.

Because these cages don't allow enough room to move, their bones are weaker and prone to breaking and they often rub the feathers right off their chests, leaving sores in their place.

What's more, without room to move, the hens often turn on one another in frustration. To prevent them from killing each other, their beaks are often routinely removed when they are young, The Jerusalem Post was recently told.

The Agriculture Ministry planned to consolidate local coops into several large rows of battery cages. That's on hold for now, but the court injunction is only temporary, so the organization is plowing ahead full steam to raise awareness and continue the fight.

The exhibit at Jerusalem's Paris Square at 5 p.m. Monday will detail the problems with battery cages and discuss Anonymous's preferred alternative.

Anonymous is advocating for a different type of chicken coop, called an aviary. By nature, chickens are actually woodland creatures that prefer to roost on a tree limb. An aviary simulates that natural habitat by allowing the hens to fly around and roost. At the same time, it utilizes modern methods of egg collecting to maximize efficiency.

It also takes up the same amount of land as the battery cages since it is a vertical structure, Anonymous activist Hila Keren said.

"What's more, if you look at the appendix to the Agriculture Ministry's reform plan where they lay out the costs of each type of cage, they themselves say the aviary coops cost the same as the battery cages," she added.

She theorized that the ministry had not really considered the aviary-type coops because they were a relatively new invention.

Also on Monday, at 11:30 a.m., Anonymous will hold a protest in Tel Aviv, on the corner of Ben Zion Boulevard and King George Street. There, naked activists wrapped in plastic wrap will protest the cruelty of the industrial meat industry.

They will slam such practices as dismembering without benefit of anesthetic and bone breakages as cows are shoved into transports. They will also protest the egg-laying hens' battery cages.

Anonymous also claims that since male chickens cannot lay eggs and this particular type of chicken is not good for meat, about 15,000 male chicks are killed each day.

The industrial food industry has come under more serious scrutiny in recent years because of its apparent contributions to global warming. A UN report from 2006 attributed 18% of gases thought to lead to global warming to livestock, because of the methane they excrete.

Anonymous has had some significant victories in years past. It successfully petitioned all the way to the Supreme Court in 2003 against the production of foie gras, which is accomplished by force feeding ducks and geese, even though Israel was a major producer at the time. It also achieved better conditions for veal calves in 2005

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