OTTAWA (RNS)--Canada's Jews and Muslims, together numbering more than 1million people, are calling on the federal government to exempt ritualslaughters from proposed animal-cruelty legislation. Kosher and halal slaughtering methods have been "a tried and true wayfor preparing animals for consumption for centuries," said Manuel Prutschiof the Canadian Jewish Congress. In an unusual alliance, the Congress and the Islamic Council ofImams-Canada have presented a brief to a Senate committee studying the bill.They recommend the legislation "explicitly exempt Jewish and Islamic ritualslaughter from its provisions or mandate the requirement of the attorneygeneral's consent for any prosecution under the animal-cruelty provisions ofthe bill." The proposed law recommends amending the Criminal Code's section oncruelty to animals to impose tougher penalties on convicted animal abusers. Under the bill, those convicted of causing "unnecessary pain, sufferingor injury to an animal" could face jail sentences of up to five years. Themaximum penalty for animal cruelty is currently six months. Imam Abdul Hai Patel of the council of imams endorsed the Jewishcongress's recommendations to the Senate in a letter "as remedies of ourshared concerns."
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