17 February 2000
Exports for ritual slaughter under fire
By FWi staff
A SHEEP industry leader has defended British farmers for sending sheep to be slaughtered at an outdoor Muslim festival in France.
Animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming took to the streets of London on Thursday (17 February ) calling for a ban on live exports for next months Eid-el-Kebir festival.
The group, which protested outside Ministry of Agriculture and National Farmers Union headquarters, claims thousands of British sheep will have their throats cut while fully conscious at open-air sites around Paris.
This is in breach of both EU and French law.
National Sheep Association chief executive John Thorley claimed that while this was a “worrying issue”, there was very little that could be done.
Mr Thorley said the sheep industry had spent 30 years building up the export market, and was satisfying regulations as far as transport is concerned.
He added: “We have written to the French government and to Brussels to ask them to put pressure on the French authorities to reduce problems at the event.
Mr Thorley said the festival took place over a relatively short time and official slaughter facilities were unable to cope.
The issue was further complicated as it involved religious beliefs and interference with the government of another country.
Sheep exported for the festival are often kept in fields surrounding Paris until a few weeks before the festival, when they are then sold to families for up to 200 each.
Peter Stevenson, CIWFs political and legal director said: “We are appalled that, year after year, British farmers are willing to send their sheep to face the horrors of Eid-el-Kebir ritual slaughter.”
The Eid-el-Kebir festival takes place on March 16-18.