Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mosque body gives assurance over welfare of ritual livestock

WE THANK Mr Jaipal Gill for his feedback on our efforts to find an alternative source for korban livestock ("Animal welfare must be at heart of ritual need"; Forum Online, Oct 31).

Islamic teachings require the protection of animals against cruel practices. There are also specific provisions in Islamic teachings for the humane slaughter of livestock.

In fact, extra precautions are taken with regard to animal welfare as the korban ritual requires healthy and unblemished livestock.

Therefore, it is in the interest of our mosques to ensure that livestock imported for the ritual is properly cared for at the mosques.

In fact, using airfreight as the mode of transport for importing korban livestock from Australia since 2009 underscores our commitment to animal welfare.

This was done before the Australian government implemented stricter rules for livestock export this year.

The new Australian rules also require supply chains to undergo a compliance audit before the export of livestock to them is approved.

Sixteen mosques and two Malay/Muslim organisations submitted to the audit earlier this year and passed, allowing them to import livestock for the ritual last month.

Nevertheless, we are aware that the Australian government faces mounting political pressure from local animal rights groups to ban all livestock export in future.

That is why Singapore must find alternative sources for korban livestock.

Regardless of the livestock sources, we assure the public that our humane standards and practices in dealing with the livestock will not be compromised.

Hence, our committee and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority will continue to work closely together to ensure that future korban operations are carried out as smoothly as possible.
Haji Mohd Sa'at Matari
Singapore Mosques Korban Committee
ST Forum, 19 Nov 2012

Animal welfare must be at heart of ritual need

THE discussion about this year's Hari Raya Haji ritual sacrifice, or korban, revolved around the stringent rules enforced by major sheep exporter Australia with regard to animal welfare and the resulting drop in the number imported ("S'pore must look beyond Australia for korban livestock, says Yaacob"; last Saturday).

There is also the worry that if Singapore fails the audit, Australia may not sell us sheep next year or worse, ban live animal exports entirely.

Alternative sources are now being suggested but, in doing so, Singapore must consider why we were denied the sheep from Australia and why some mosques failed the audit.

There are animal welfare issues associated with the live export trade, which is why Australia has come up with new stricter regulations.

We should not find an alternative source which expects a different or lower animal welfare standard of us so that we can circumvent the hassle of importing the livestock we need.

When we try to improve the practices surrounding this ritual, it should not be done merely to fulfil the Australian requirements. It should be done because we too value animal welfare.
Jaipal Gill
ST Forum, 31 Oct 2012

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