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Israelis rally against Aust live exports

 

Thousands of people have protested in Israel calling for an end to live animal imports from Australia.

Footage of a voyage from Fremantle to the Middle East on which 2400 sheep died in filth and extreme heat has sparked protests in Australia, and now in Israel after being broadcast there.

Animals Australia say about 3000 people attended the rally in Tel Aviv overnight.

Israel's first lady Sara Netanyahu and her husband, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke out against the August 2017 Awassi Express journey earlier this month.

And last week, Israel's Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said on Facebook he had expressed concerns to his Australian counterpart David Littleproud.

"I explained that there was an intention to significantly reduce the transport of livestock from Australia to Israel," Mr Ariel wrote.

"I cannot interfere with a delivery while outside the territorial waters of Israel, but there will be an Israel intervention on animal welfare as soon as it reaches the territorial waters of the state of Israel."

Almost 100,000 sheep and cattle were exported from Australia to Israel last year.

The Awassi was held up in Fremantle Port for about three weeks after the footage was broadcast earlier this month and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority ordered the operator to improve its ventilation system.

AMSA gave the all-clear on Tuesday but it emerged on Friday the company that chartered the vessel, Perth-based Emanuel Exports, will instead use the Al Messilah for its next sheep shipment.

A snap rally is planned for Fremantle on Sunday afternoon to coincide with the loading of sheep onto the Al Messilah.

Stop Live Exports WA convenor Katrina Love said the Al Messilah was older than the Awassi and had its own history of animal suffering.

More than 3000 sheep died from extreme heat onboard the Al Messilah in 2016, when it had also been chartered by Emanuel Exports.

"But this isn't about the ship, it's about the exporter," Ms Love said.

"It defies belief that Emanuel Exports is still being granted export permits given their long history of non-compliance with Australian regulations."