An Ottawa farmer claimed discrimination in court Monday after he was charged with operating an illegal slaughter plant without a licence while the Muslim men who bought and killed his sheep were not.

Anthony Scissons sold live sheep to the men in October 2012 from his farm in the rural community of Dunrobin, west of Kanata.

The three men who bought the sheep admitted to slaughtering the animals on the farm in a ritual called Dhabihah.


The sheep were sold to three men who killed the animals using an Islamic ritual. (CBC)

Scissons was charged under the Food Safety and Quality Act with operating an unlicensed slaughter plant.

Kurtis Andrews, the lawyer representing Scissons, said his client isn't Muslim and under Islamic law is forbidden from taking part in the slaughter.

"Mr. Scissons sold them live sheep — what they choose to do with them after that point is really up to them," said Andrews.

"It's just a totally absurd allegation," he said. "There's no slaughter plant on the farm… there is simply no way they can prove it."

Kurtis Andrews

Lawyer Kurtis Andrews said charging his client for the actions of others is "absurd." (CBC)

Andrews said the government wasn't about to charge the three other men even though they carried out the slaughter.

He also noted the act does have exemptions about slaughtering that are sensitive to the traditions of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples.

Scissons is also charged with selling and distributing uninspected meat.

If convicted, Scissons could be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to two years in jail for each charge.