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Animal rights activists brace for Feast of Sacrifice

Home slaughter banned and risks 30,000 euro fine

22 October, 18:13
Animal rights activists brace for Feast of Sacrifice (ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - Animal rights activists in Italy are on alert as the Feast of Sacrifice, a Muslim holiday honored with the slaughter of sheep or goats, approaches.

According to tradition and religious edict, the sacrifice is to be carried out by the individual worshipper and is done without stunning the animal.

The Italian Federation of Animal Rights Associations says that despite European and Italian law against butchering outside of government-approved structures, every year numerous killings are carried out in garages, homes and gardens. The federation has appealed to police for increased supervision and controls.

Violation of the law against home slaughtering calls for a fine of up to 30,000 euros. Approximately 206 facilities are currently approved for the ritual killing of cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, up from 104 in 2003. The federation said 193 structures are exclusively for Islamic or Halal rituals, four for Jewish Kosher preparations (virtually identical to the Islamic) and nine certified to perform both rites. Regulations do not require the stunning of the animal for ritual purposes when performed in approved slaughterhouses.

The federation has filed an appeal for EU member states to adopt more protective regulations, including obligatory stunning during ritual slaughter.