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 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