Beliefnet
BOMBAY, India, Dec. 21 (AP) - An international animal rights organization said Thursday it will ask Islamic countries to stop importing meat from a big slaughterhouse in Bombay because of the cruel and inhumane conditions under which the animals were killed.

The facilities at Deonar ``are out of compliance with Indian and Muslim laws. Animals with gored eyes, bloodied horns and broken legs lie unattended and injured for up to a day before being sold for slaughter,'' said Poorva Joshipura, head of the investigation unit of the People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals, or PETA.

``We will be taking evidence of the unhygienic and abysmally cruel conditions in which animals are slaughtered in Bombay to countries like the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,'' Joshipura said.

Deonar, in Bombay's northeastern suburb, is one of the six major slaughterhouses in India, which export meat worth $138 million a year, according to government figures.

Some 600 heads of cattle, 200 pigs and 6,000 sheep and goats are slaughtered everyday at Deonar.

Ironically, cattle are sacred to India's Hindu majority, and Hinduism teaches vegetarianism as the preferred diet. Moreover, Islamic dietary law prohibits the consumption of pork -- leading religious Muslims to avoid any association with pigs, no matter how tangential.

Despite those religious precepts, India has a growing market for meat products.

The conditions in the other five Indian slaughterhouses in the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala are better since the animals are killed immediately, Joshipura said.

According to the Islamic law, the meat of animals subjected to cruelty in breeding, transport or slaughter is considered impure and unlawful to eat.

PETA, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is working to protect the animals.

It has been monitoring Bombay's Deonar slaughterhouse since April last year. But its protests and meetings with municipal and state government officials have failed to bring about any change in the treatment of cattle, Joshipura said.

A video clip screened for reporters in Bombay on Thursday showed cattle with blinded or bloody eyes lying on the floor. Workers twist and break the tails of cattle and beat them with bamboo sticks to move them out of trucks transporting them to the abattoir.

``The dead animals are left on top of live ones. This also increases the spread of disease,'' Joshipura said.

``It is clear that animals are killed in full view of each other. Children wandered about the unloading area joining the adults in the indiscriminate beating, pulling and kicking of the animals,'' she added. PETA has asked municipal authorities to shut down the abattoir until animal protection laws are met.

Its campaign earlier this year led to some international retailers to cancel contracts with Indian leather exporters, causing a loss of $28 million to India's leather industry.

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