On Wednesday night, activists staged an animal rights protest in Eilat to call for the end of livestock shipments from abroad.

Demonstrators from Let Animals Live, Anonymous for Animal Rights and Israel Against Live Transports gathered at the boardwalk wearing shackles and splattered with fake blood to draw attention to the treatment of animals on board the ships.

“On this holiday of freedom, we are sounding the alarm of animals enslaved to industry and calling for the prohibition of live deliveries,” the organizations said in a statement about the series of protests planned for both Haifa and Eilat, the main ports used for animals shipments. “On the Seder night we ask what is different on this night from all other nights, but from the perspective of animals, nothing has changed.”

Last year, over 800 sheep died on a ship bound for Israel from Australia, prompting animal rights group to call for an end to live shipments arriving at Israeli ports.

The Department of Agriculture has not yet responded to the group’s petition.

In the meantime, the animal rights groups have also called for the Agricultural Ministry to examine the conditions of animals once they arrive in Israel, especially after Israel allowed transports of calves into the Gaza Strip despite reports of ill-treatment that caused cattle suppliers to ban shipments to the area.

The solution, they said, though, is not stop gap measures to improve conditions but stopping the overseas transport of live animals for slaughter altogether, a message that they group says has resonance over the Passover season.

“There is no logic in transporting animals across continents and oceans, wallowing in their secretions in the underbelly of a crowded ship, only in order to slaughter them in Israel,” the organizations said. “The key to ending this abuse is in our hands – at every meal we can choose between bondage and freedom, and between life and death.”

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