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Ministry of Agriculture makes a Revolutionary Move: Rating food products by the treatment of animals
Time:10 Dec 2015
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An act with a dual purpose: promoting animal welfare and important consumer information

** The factories will be rated by the Ministry of Agriculture inspectors ** The grade scale will be 1 to 5 stars ** The factory ratings will be made public
?°This is a real bit of good news?±, said the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Uri Ariel, ?°By introducing an animal welfare scale into our food products we will encourage the factories to improve their compliance with the animal welfare regulations, and the consumer will be provided with this important information before he makes his decision as to which product to buy. I believe and hope that this move will have a long-term impact on both the food industry and on the internal controls, as well as on the consumption habits of all of us?±
As a part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development?ˉs efforts to improve animal welfare on the one hand, while at the same time providing transparent information to the consumer, the Ministry is embarking on a new project: the ?°Five Stars?± rating. Within this new project, the Ministry will rate the food production and processing factories which produce animal-origin products according to criteria of their treatment of the animals and their welfare. The products will be labeled according to a stars rating, and the data will be posted transparently on the Ministry?ˉs website. In view of the size and scope of this industrial sector in Israel, the first stage of the rating will cover the (poultry) slaughterhouses and in the second stage it will be expanded to cover the (livestock) abattoirs.
This revolutionary initiative is intended to make information accessible to the consumer, which he will be able to take into consideration when purchasing poultry products, and to choose whether to prefer one company?ˉs product over another company?ˉs product. The factories will be rated by the Ministry of Agriculture inspectors, where the grade scale will range from 1 to 5 stars. The 5-star rating is the maximum rating a product can achieve, indicating that the welfare of the chickens is upheld throughout the entire length of the process. It should be noted that the ratings will apply only above the certain minimum threshold necessary for the continued operation of the factory. A grade lower than this will mean cessation of the factory?ˉs production.
The factories will be rated according clear, transparent criteria, which will include: The quality of the self-imposed supervision of the facility in aspects of animal welfare, maintenance of the chickens?ˉ holding areas, quality of the facilities and infrastructure, number of non-conformities between the legal and ministerial requirements, and the actual situation at the site, and more.
To accomplish the ratings, the Ministry of Agriculture will continue to perform frequent audits at the animal holding facilities. In cases of severe defects or non-compliance, the Ministry will initiate an enforcement proceeding that may end in the closing of the facility, either with immediate effect or following a hearing. Over recent years there have been numerous temporary or permanent closures of facilities that have been found to be in violation of the requirements, such as the Beer Sheva abattoir, Nazareth abattoir, Deir el Assad, abattoir, Hadera abattoir, Holon abattoir and others.

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