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