The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Cape of Good Hope) has found that some Qurbani farms are in violation of the Animals Protection Act during inspections in Cape Town this past Eid-al-Adha. Eid-al-Adha, or the Eid of Sacrifice, is an Islamic holiday which sees millions of Muslims globally slaughtering animals as an act of sacrifice and devotion. Accordingly, the SPCA does annual inspections on Eid-al-Adha to ensure that different slaughtering facilities and residences comply with the Animals Protection Act while making their sacrifices. The SPCA seeks to safeguard the humane treatment of all slaughtered animals and acts against those guilty of violating the Animals Protection Act.
“The operations have been both good and bad,” said Horse Care and Farmyard Unit Inspector at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Carina Bodenstein.
“We saw compliance from all the facilities we have monitored over the years and we say thank you for that. Unfortunately, however, several warnings were issued and there will also be prosecutions again.”
Bodenstein says that the handling of the animals has been a key issue during the qurbani period this year and that slaughtering infrastructure has not been up to par. She also indicated that in future, those receiving help from individuals who are from other religions and cultures on the day of qurbani need to ensure that those individuals understand how to treat animals in accordance with the Act and Islamic requirements.
“The handling has been a big issue…We’ve seen some really inhumane handling.”
“The larger animals bring big problems. [When] the infrastructure is not up to standard the animals have to go through severe inhumane handling to be pinned down…Incompetent people have even had to handle these big animals.”
“If you look at the Islamic religion and how you should slaughter, it’s in accordance with the Animals Protection Act. It speaks about humane handling, compassion for slaughtered animals and how cruelty toward animals is cruelty toward a human. People of different cultures and religions are sometimes brought in to assist on the day of qurbani and those are the people who, majority of the time, are problematic with these qurbani.”
Bodenstein also suggested the pre-slaughter stunning of animals, saying that it would remove all the unnecessary suffering and stress out of the process.
“We had a facility that allowed us to pre-stun the cattle. Everyone noticed how much better for the animal it is,” she said.
“Stunning doesn’t kill the animal, it’s so that it doesn’t feel the pain. It’s much safer for the animal – especially larger ones. You take the unnecessary suffering and stress out of the way.”
“The animal comes in and it’s much more peaceful…Every abattoir has to stun animals prior to slaughter, or, the animals have to be stunned after the throat is cut.”
The SPCA says that while they act against parties guilty of violating the Animals Protection Act, they always seek to educate before they attempt to prosecute.