Lamb sacrifice fines worry Ottawa Muslims
Some Muslims in Canada's capital region are worried that they may be fined for sacrificing lambs during November's Eid al-Adha celebrations.
Since 2005 it has been illegal in Ontario for anyone but the owner of a licensed abattoir to buy livestock and slaughter it independently. Last fall, a Muslim man was fined $2,000 for slaughtering and distributing lamb, and another man is scheduled to appear in court next week for killing a pig.
Abed Abufarha used to celebrate Eid by going to farms to slaughter lambs himself. But this year he will head to an abattoir in Pakenham, Ont., to get his lamb meat. He said the regulations have changed a tradition he used to bring his family to.
"It's getting really serious. They're just so sharp about it. They want to stop it right away," said Abufarha. "There's big fines for slaughtering meat outside of a slaughterhouse."
Many Muslims in the Ottawa area have begun booking lambs to sacrifice for their Eid feast on Nov. 16, and say they'll risk killing the animals themselves. Akram Elmuradi has already paid for 10 live lambs he plans to sacrifice with friends.
"I myself take joy in the kill itself," Elmuradi said. "It's a tradition. … Nobody's going to stop you from doing something you believe in."
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it only investigates if a complaint is filed. Still, the penalties can be severe. The maximum fine under the Food Safety and Quality act is $25,000.