SYDNEY (JTA) — Australian officials are investigating whether undercover footage of cattle being abused at Israel’s largest slaughterhouse are from Australia.
The Australian Department of Agriculture told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday that the livestock at the abattoir near Beit Shean could be from Australia.
“It’s a reasonable expectation,” Australian Department of Agriculture deputy secretary Phillip Glide said. “We’re conducting an investigation, and we’re doing that in conjunction with the Israeli authorities who are conducting their own investigations.”
Israeli media reported that a criminal investigation was launched.
The video footage was captured by undercover Israeli journalist Ronen Bar, who claimed most of the cattle were from Australia. It shows workers using a stun gun on the animals’ genitals and anus.
The owners of the Adom Adom facility told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the abuse of the animals was “rude, sadistic behavior.”
Protesters in Tel Aviv called on Australia to halt cattle export to Israel. Australia requires the observance of animal welfare standards at the slaughterhouses to which it allows exports.
Some 50,000 cattle from Australia have been exported to Israel in 2012.