Haj & Eid abuses exposed again

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:


Live transport, crude amateur slaughter
at the November 16, 2010 celebration of the Eid
“Feast of Sacrifice,” slaughter in front of
children, poor animal welfare leading to the
spread of disease–including the often deadly
tick-borne Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever–and
misuse of the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca as a cover
for wildlife trafficking all came to light in
2010 post-Haj reportage. The most encouraging
sign of change may have been simply that much of
the critical reportage was done by leading media
in Islamic nations.

Public officials repeatedly appealed
during the Haj season for more humane and safer
ritual slaughter.
“Islam attaches great importance to the
rights of animals. It is our religious duty to
make sure that animals are treated well,”
reminded Pakistan prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza
Gilani at the beginning of the Haj, in an
October 4, 2010 World Animal Day address.
By then most of the animals who would be
killed on the Eid were already on their way to
market, including those shipped a third of the
way around the world from Australia to the Middle
East. “Over the past 30 years Australia has
exported over 200 million animals to the Middle
East,” said Les Ward of the Marchig Trust.
“During that time over 2.5 million animals have
died en route. Since 2003 Lyn White of Animals
Australia and a U.K.-based investigator have
visited Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab
Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt, documenting
conditions at feedlots, market places and
abattoirs. This year,” Ward said, “some
800,000 Australian sheep were sent to the Middle
East for the Eid–almost a quarter of Australia’s
annual exports. The majority of these animals
were brutally handled without any thought for
their welfare,” Ward charged.
Observed White in November 2010 in
Kuwait, “In the Shuwaikh abattoir trussed and
terrified Australian sheep were dragged up the
ramp into the slaughterhouse right in front of a
Ministry of Livestock Australia sign saying
‘don’t drag animals.’
“Nothing had changed in the dreadful
cattle slaughter area either. The streets of the
Al Rai market on the morning of the Eid turned
into a mass slaughter area,” White continued.
“Australian sheep were bound with wire and shoved
into car boots whilst others were dragged
terrified on their stomachs amongst the dead and
dying to have their throats cut.” White and Ward
appealed for Australia to require that only
frozen carcasses may be exported.
Lending emphasis to the White and Ward
appeal, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection
Service reported on October 24, 2010 that nearly
300 cattle out of 16,460 and 360 sheep out of
40,282 died from heat stress and related causes
aboard the Wellard Rural Export vessel MV Ocean
Shearer in February 2010. This was the first
shipment of Australian livestock to Egypt
following a suspension imposed in 2006 due to
neglect of animal welfare both in transport and
after arrival.
Arab News, published in Jeddah, Riyadh,
and Dammam, Saudi Arabia, meanwhile reported
that “The business of trading in animal skins,
including skins of endangered creatures, was
booming in the tent city of Mina,” during the
2010 Haj. The Arab News exposé drew attention to
the lack of authority of Haj monitors to arrest
traffickers and seize their merchandise.

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