A Fine For Creating A Polluting Pig Sty In Israel

pig-sty-israel photo My Scottish mother, in her finest Glaswegian accent, used to call my room a “pig sty” when I was a kid. Now an Israeli farm is getting fined for creating a pig sty.

Unbeknownst to many outsiders –– and insiders –– Israel operates farms that raise pigs for selling to the pork market. New immigrants and foreign workers especially create a demand for the pork, while among the mainstream Jewish and Arab population pork is quite taboo.

On February 22, 2009, reports the Israeli Ministry of Environment, the Acre Magistrate’s Court convicted the owners of a pig farm for operating a pig sty without a business license and of polluting water sources.

The defendants were convicted of allowing pig farm wastes to flow untreated into unsealed earth pools, from where they overflowed to open space, littering the public domain and endangering water sources with pollution. In addition, says the Ministry, wastewater was discharged from the pools to open space, using leaking pipes, and pig carcasses were discarded on the ground.

The defendants (names not mentioned in the report) were convicted of violations under the Water Law, 1959, the Water Regulations (Prevention of Water Pollution) (Evaporation and Collection Ponds), 1977, the Licensing of Businesses Law, 1968 and the Maintenance of Cleanliness Law, 1984.

Defendant 1 was given a suspended imprisonment sentence of three months for a three year period on condition he does not contravene provisions of the Business Licensing Law and the Water Law. He was fined 350,000 shekels or 30 months of imprisonment in lieu of the fine. He was also required to sign a financial obligation in the sum of 300,000 or 30 months of imprisonment to refrain from a similar offense under the Water Law for three years.

Defendant 2 was fined 100,000 shekels or 12 months imprisonment in lieu of the fine. He signed a financial obligation of 100,000 shekels or 12 months imprisonment to refrain from a similar offense under the Water Law for three years.

The total fine, in the sum of 450,000 shekels, will be paid to the Cleanliness Maintenance Fund.

The court also issued a judicial shutdown order against the pig farm, requiring the defendants to immediately shut down operations in the farm, in light of the fact that the business operates without a license and causes environmental hazards, as well as due to the fact that a temporary shutdown order was issued against the farm within the framework of interim procedures.

In his sentence, the judge emphasized that “offenses that damage the environment are not to be belittled and damage to the landscape, to land and to water sources, is, at times, irreversible. Therefore, significant penalties should be imposed on anyone who continuously harms our life sources – air and water.”

The judge went on to state that “the offenses in the case should also be viewed in terms of their economic-profit aspects since the defendants were able to draw real profits from operating the business in this way, and therefore it is only right that high fines should be imposed on the defendants…in order to deter continued offenses.”

One of our own Green Prophet writers, Jeffrey, is an expert on pigs in Israel. Read more about his politics of pork here at his blog The Wet Sprocket.

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5 thoughts on “A Fine For Creating A Polluting Pig Sty In Israel”

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  3. Jeff says:

    This is a great firs step. I hope they begin cracking down on non-pig industrial farming too so that this issue is more environmental and not just another arena for the religious battles that have come to characterize the pork debate in Israel.

    Great reporting, Karin.

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