(SANTA CLARA, CA – 7/3/2014) — The California Department of Food and Agriculture is currently considering new regulations for the slaughter of animals in Custom Livestock Slaughterhouses. These new regulations are aimed at combating an increase in reports of salmonella and other food-borne illnesses resulting from poor slaughtering techniques.
However, one of the proposed regulations requiring stunning of animals prior to slaughter would negatively impact the ability of California Muslims to butcher an animal in accordance with the standards of their faith as part of the celebration of Eid al-Adha (eed-al-odd-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” Eid al-Adha, one of two major annual Muslim holidays, commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings.
CAIR-California attorneys say there were less restrictive measures the department could take to achieve its safety goals that would not prohibit this religious practice. In response to the proposed regulations, CAIR-California submitted a comment to the Department of Food and Agriculture expressing concern about the effect the proposed regulation would have on this religious practice. CAIR-California further offered to assist the department's officials and medical professionals in rewriting the proposed regulations so that they meet the department's safety objectives without infringing on the sincerely-held religious beliefs of many California Muslims.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo, 626.252.0885, email@example.com; CAIR Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra, 916.446.6269, firstname.lastname@example.org