For a week, a shipment of livestock headed to Israel has been stranded at the dock.
Now, the Israeli Agricultural Ministry has cancelled the shipment.
It all began on December 29 when the MV Ocean Outback tried to leave the Australian port of Freemantle with 13,000 live animals headed towards Israel.
The engines failed, leaving the animals in sweltering heat.
Animal rights groups also feared that the conditions would lead to mass suffering and death among the livestock, so they wrote a letter to the Ag Minister Uri Ariel and Israeli Veterinary Services director Dr. Nadav Galon, requesting the shipment that was headed to an Israeli slaughterhouse, be cancelled.
“It’s something that sounds like a fictional horror movie,” Yael Gabay, who led the campaign for the group Israel Against Live Transports said, according to JPost. “These shipments are constantly harsh, and we are turning to the agriculture minister to appeal to the mercy of his heart and the Torah of Israel.”
Then, after a series of talks between Israeli and Australian authorities, on Wednesday Israel announced that they would not accept the animals.
“Following the intervention of the agriculture minister, talks were conducted between the Israeli and Australian veterinary services,” a statement from the ministry said, adding that according to the agreement “the cattle were unloaded from the vessel and the import shipment was canceled.”
Animal rights group hope that canceling the stranded ship will lead to an outright ban on live transport of animals into Israel something they say is inhumane and illogical.
“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 animal rights activists told the press back in April when they held a Passover protest in Eilat. “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.”
Meanwhile, Alan Schmidt the managing director of Otway Livestock insists that the animals on board the ship once bound to Israel remain safe despite some deaths.
“We are working hard to finalize our contingency arrangements and, in doing so, will continue to work with the relevant agencies to ensure all necessary regulatory and commercial arrangements and procedures are in place as soon as possible,” he said, later telling ABC News it was “normal” for some animals to die on board.
Some of the 13,000 surviving sheep and cattle may also now be sent to southwest Asia for slaughter.