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MIDDLE EAST: Eid al Adha animal slaughter sparks debate in Muslim world

Sacrifice in Kuwait - Eid Nov 2010 Animal rights activists are speaking out against the treatment of millions of animals that will be killed and eaten during the Eid al Adha holiday, as suppliers and butchers are accused of ignoring religious edicts on humane slaughter.

On Friday, an Australian animal rights group reiterated its call for the Australian government to stop the sale of livestock to the Middle East after activists documented sheep in Kuwait and Bahrain allegedly being subjected to brutal treatment.

Australia is one of the largest exporters of livestock to the region, with trade totaling $297 million in 2009, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The group has already succeeded in banning livestock export to Egypt.

"In the same way that Christmas has become the peak time of animal suffering in the West with vast numbers of factory farmed animals slaughtered for Christmas celebrations, the Festival of Sacrifice is the worst time of animal suffering throughout the Middle East," the Animals Australia campaign homepage read.

A recent report in the Egyptian newspaper the Daily News featured butchers who admitted to ignoring Islamic hilal methods of slaughter in order to meet the high demand for meat. 

"Islam has put regulations for the slaughtering process ensuring that the animal is well treated before, during and after slaughtering and those who defy these rules are punished," Sheik Saber Taalab, former member of the Islamic Research Center in Cairo, told the paper.

Eid al Adha commemorates the old testament story of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, for God. According to the story, Isaac was saved when God saw Abraham's faith and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son.

Muslims around the world honor Abraham by slaughtering livestock, mostly sheep, and distributing the meat to the poor or cooking it and sharing the meal with family and friends.

Traditionally, many families choose to slaughter the animal themselves rather than buy meat from a butcher, and the smell and sight of blood fill the streets of many towns and cities. While these scenes make dramatic visuals for animal rights groups, defenders of the practice maintain that if done properly, traditional slaughter is a relatively humane way to kill an animal.

In some places, the debate over Eid al Adha is controversial for different reasons.

The sight of sheep's blood running through the streets of Istanbul is a vivid reminder of Turkey's ongoing struggle to balance its secular and Muslim identities and allay the underlying class tensions.

"The age-old tradition ... has become controversial in Turkey as conservative immigrants from rural Anatolia have migrated to Istanbul and other large cities, where it is neither easy nor welcome to slaughter an animal in the street," wrote Mustafa Akyol for the Hurriyet Daily News. "Doing so creates 'disturbing scenes' according to some urban Turks, and Turkish media outlets that have been complaining about encountering animals, and their bloody remains, in unexpected parts of the city."

--Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Activists from Animals Australia took photos of animals they say are being improperly transported and killed in Bahrain for the Eid al Adha holiday. Credit: Animals Australia

Comments () | Archives (32)

The live sheep and cattle trade must be phased out! This barbaric trade has seen millions of animals suffer the most cruel and inhumane treatment over the past 30 years. The approximately 2 million sheep that have died enroute were the "lucky ones" At least they were spared the barbaric treatment awaiting them on arrival at their destination in the Middle East and Asia. For a supposedly civilised country, Australia has many issues in regards to the cruel treatment of its animals, but the live sheep trade is one of the very worst. Shame Australia!!


Thanks amiga for pointing out that Muslims PLAGIARIZED the Jewish Torah when they twisted it around to claim Abraham (whose name they changed to Ibrahim) had sought to sacrifice his ILLEGITIMATE son Ishmael instead of his PROMISED son Isaac. They even twisted it to claim that the location was not Mount Moriah, but rather the Arabian city of Mecca.

What the Torah/Old Testament REALLY says about Ishmael is that he was a child of Abraham's UNBELIEF of God's promise to give him a son through his WIFE Sarah. Because both Sarah & Abraham disbelieved God's promise because Sarah was too old to have a child, so Sarah told him to have sex with her slave girl Hagar, so Hagar could bare the son that Sarah considered herself unable to bear (because of her advanced age).

So this adulterous act of Abraham's unbelief conceived Ishmael, who was the fruit of Abraham's REBELLION against God's promise, about whom the Book of Genesis says in 16:12 that Ishmael "will be a wild man, his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand will be against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of his brethren."

Fourteen years later God did the miracle birth of promised son Isaac from the womb of Abraham's AGED WIFE. Genesis 21:9 tells us that "Sarah saw the son of Hagar mocking" & insisted that Abraham send Hagar & Ishmael packing, which he did.

So the whole erroneous premise of Islam being an "Abrahamic religion akin to Judaism and Christianity" is all based on the plagiarized claim that Muslims have misinterpreted from the Book of Genesis.

Animal right groups should object to western society's barberic hunting for fun of animals rather than charitable religious offering that would subsequntly feed millions of hungry people! Stop the hatred against every steps that muslims take!

Muslims believe that Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham) was told to sacrifice Prophet Ismael(Ishmael) and not Prophet Ishaac(Isaac), peace be upon all of them.

How is it Muslims have gotten away with it THIS long?

Michael Vick just did 18 MONTHS for killing dogs that at least had a fighting CHANCE...

Further proof that Islam is the most politically protected religion in world history, thanks to the PC crowd...

All of this gibberish is cruel and disgusting.

Why is that the three alleged major religions of the world have such barbaric practices? I don't think a true and just g-d would allow the slaughter of animals and anything of the earth.

Poor animals. Bless their souls..

Animal slaughter in Eid al Adha is a Islamic Traditions, no one has any right to stop this traditions


Wow, of all that could be reported about the Hajj, the greatest gathering of human beings on an annual basis for over 1400 years, and this is what you report? So pathetic.

@fahd. greetings, like some other person says well i have a name you can direct your comments to me,we/my family have had many arab/muslim friends in our homes in israel,and they have eaten kosher,on my visits to my second home friends come to say hallo they eat kosher and yes some are muslim,infact people eat kosher meats purchased at their own non kosher butchers but would not even know that they have taken home food costing us large amounts of money and sold to them at standard prices extra production is sold to other butchers including muslim butchers infact you proberly have done your-self. you seem to have a problem with the facts i hope you are not yet another hater of jews as your comment seems to lean this way,my uncle was a rabbi and my father a cantor(chazan) so i asure you i know axactly what i'm talking about. thank you.

Double standard plain and simple! So you guys find the slaughtering of millions of sheep during an event that occur once a year?! What about all the live stock that is killed by machines every day in slaughter houses, and all year long for your daily bread? Where do you think the ground beef or chicken that is in your burger come from? This is just nonsense!

Sheep from Australia are shipped on open deck transport ships for air, temperature and density reasons. Injured and sick animals are thrown overboard. I believe they are watered as its a three week trip to the Middle East and they are paid by weight, or at least minimum weight, so starving them isn't in their economic interests so I suspect the sheep are fed.
Sheep are not stunned in the West as are cattle; they are electrocuted by attaching an electrode to an ear and to the anus. Cattle are only stunned in the West which is why both Jews and Muslems object to cruel western slaughter practices. If you ever hit your head and saw 'stars' you are still conscious and aware, but unresponsive. That's not the same things as not being able to feel pain. As cattle slaughtered in the West are then hoisted by a hind leg and skinned and quartered almost immediately without supervision and checks, cattle are often skinned while still alive in western countries.
Halel and kosher slaughter have as their objective to sever the juggler vein to the brain, not the throat.
@Tamara Henderson - yes, kosher requires the resharpening of the blade each and every time. You can tell who is a schocket (slaughterer) in a synagogue by his thumb nail; they typically test for nicks in the blade by running the edge over their thumbnail before use leaving deep scratches over time. Nicks and defects are not allowed; must resharpen and its inspected both before and after. If the blade nick appears after, its also not kosher and they don't get the higher price; its sold to gentiles. Kosher uses a financial incentives to encourage following humane procedures at every stage, that's why kosher meat is so expensive. The farmer is standardly paid more for cattle without injuries, and the carcass is inspected after slaughter for hidden injuries which if found - IS DECLARED NOT KOSHER and they all get paid less.
The hind end of the cow isn't even koshered these days as it is so difficult to do, so Jews get to eat only the flavorful, but tough cuts of meat. As a result, only cattle less than 18 ms old are used for kosher (more tender)and that means no mad cow disease; an unintended benefit.

Islam is the best religion
Islam jumped onto the Jewish Torah to legitimize itself! The Torah is the real truth!

so it means that in Christianity if its allowed to eat meat so u guys should stop following Christianity or any other religion that allows u to eat meat...... thats a bullshit argument............ Islam is the best religion and its the most widespread religion during the current time...

Just to clarify one thing that these are animals, that are usually treated with respect, or supposed to be treated with respect(unlawful not to), they are well fed, and given water, prayers are recited and then the least amount of knife is to be used, instead of hacking away.

This is absolutely barbaric and I am ashamed to be an Australian while the live export of animals to the Middle East continues. The Australian government and Australian farmers should be hanging their heads in shame. One CANNOT compare the method of stunning an animal to render it unconscious before its throat is cut, to the practice of violent ritual slaughter where it is commonly known that terrified animals suffer terribly, they of course feel every bit of knife (or whatever is used to hack away at their throats) which is hacking at their throats. They are left for sometimes long periods of time before they die, meanwhile if they don't have their legs crudely tied up they thrash helplessly around while they are bleeding out. Are sharp knives always used? I doubt it. Does the killer have the animals best interests at heart? I doubt it, or they would not violently hack at an animals throats in the firts place. The issue is obscene and always has been. Australia claims to have the 'animal welfare practices in the world' this is a lie, it has nothing but utter contempt for animals which are shipped live to the Middle East and contempt for animals on Aussie soil also and the world is watching and judging us for this.

Australia should hang its head in shame for condemning millions of animals to the wretched misery and suffering that is its live export trade. Every year, approximately 40,000 animals die on an excruciating sea voyage that can take a month, bringing their whole journey up to 3 months. On these journeys,
they die of 'inanition' (starvation), dehydration, disease, respiratory distress and trauma from brutal handling - and they are the 'lucky' ones. The survivors, many ill, blind and lame, are handled and butchered in hideous, unspeakable manners that are quite rightly illegal in Australia. The Australian government, the farmers the exporters, and most importantly the Australian community know this, and that is why animal advocates demand an end to this, possibly the most shocking, animal abuse in the world.

I hate the way they are pulled around by one leg and thrown into car boots - and they think that is humane treatment. They still live in the dark ages.

Why is this still happening!!? This trade is beyond cruel and is bad for our country too. While I don't like the thought of any animal being slaughtered it would be far less cruel to slaughter them here in our country than make them go through HELL only to be treated like sh*t, then killed inhumanely at the other end. I'm tired of seeing these pictures and hearing these stories, there is no excuse to treat animals this way and there are a million other reasons why this should stop..... I'm ashamed to be australian!!

"Eid al Adha commemorates the old testament story of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, for God. According to the story, Isaac was saved when God saw Abraham's faith and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son."

One correction here, Eid al Adha commemorates, story of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his first son, Ismail (not Isaac), for God. According to the Quran, Ismail was saved when God saw Abraham's faith and gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son.

Just a quick note to the author, Muslims believe that Abraham was asked to slaughter his son Ishmael, not Isaac. That is one of the big differences between Muslims and other Judeo-Christian Religions.

Eid al Adha is a celebration. I am not a Muslim but I have never ever heard of a celebration that only slaughters an eggplant or a pumpkin. Please think deeper, these slaughtered animals are used for food and there is no humane way of slaughtering or killing animals. Do you mean we give them a bath with the best shampoo, perfume them and brush their smoothed wool softly while continuously singing them a song so that they will die? When they slaughter these animals for food I don't think they were machine gunned, their heads were bashed with a very heavy metal then their bodies were over ran by a gigantic metal road roller. Wheeew.

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