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Qurbani operation accused of mistreatment

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Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of sacrifice, is a significant holiday for Muslims across the world. An integral part of the feast is the ritual sacrifice of livestock, and although the Qur’an has strict restrictions and guidelines on the slaughter of these animals, reports of violations often pop up. Athlone resident Aziza Khajee was shocked to find sheep scheduled to be sacrificed for Qurbani in Belgravia stacked into a cramped space. Khajee had plans to have a sheep slaughtered for Qurbani at Masjid Ansar in Belgravia, but after seeing the livestock being offloaded without being given water or food, she refused.

“My friend and I went, and saw the sheep being off loaded from a bakkie. They were so cramped without food and water. And the masjid has a large plot but they were put into this small space. It was traumatizing.”

She said she then, instead, bought a slaughtered sheep from a different provider.

But Maulana Nazmee Davids, who runs the Qurbani in question, says after a conversation with VOC, he and Khajee discussed the reasoning behind their actions.

He said: “We talked for a good while, but I explained to her why we did what she saw. The animals had just been off-loaded, and placing feed and water near them at that time would have been disastrous, since they were so close to one another.”

He said they had also been corralled into a smaller space so as not to put the animals under unnecessary stress before being slaughtered.

“Our scripture says we must not unnerve the animal, and if someone has to run around the animal over a large plot of land that would just stress the animal out. So it is better if it is in a smaller space. I am glad that she and I were able to speak, as Muslims it’s best to discuss a grievance with the person that caused it. What we do here [in Belgravia] is to try introduce the qurbani to people in our more underprivileged communities because normally people would have to drive all the way out to farms.”

Davids said anyone with any questions on Qurbani should talk to or confront the person they see as violating the code of conduct required by them.

According to the Animals Protection Act (No.71 of 1962), all animals must be confined in such a manner that allows them adequate space, ventilation, shelter, food and water. No animal should be picked up by its fleece, dragged, chased or prodded. Animals should be restrained humanely while being transported and when being slaughtered;

“No animal should be tied by its legs with bailing twine and crammed into the back of car boots or laid on their sides at the back of bakkies. When due to be slaughtered, animals should be laid on their sides and not on their backs, to avoid distress. Animals should also not be forced to stand or kneel during slaughter,” said the Cape of Good Hope (CoGH) SPCA.

Knives used for the slaughter must also remain extremely sharp so that the slaughtering remains as humane as possible.

“Only experienced people should perform the slaughtering. Inexperienced, lay persons who attempt to perform the slaughters often cause horrific trauma and pain to the animal.” VOC

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