Paul Michaud, Arab News, Jan. 31
PARIS, 31 January 2004 — The Paris suburb of Evry, which has one of France’s largest Muslim populations, has decided to install video screens to enable the local faithful to watch some 3,300 sheep being slaughtered for Eid this year.
The televised ritual slaughter which will take place in a large mobile abattoir is the idea of a local meat wholesaler.
“If the idea succeeds this year then it’s likely to become a permanent fixture of Eids in future,” a local municipal spokesman said.
Meanwhile, at Le Mans, west of Paris, the local authorities have decided to build a “hard” structure in which the sheep belonging to local Muslims can be killed.
“If this works out,” says an official for the prefecture which is overseeing the development, “then it’s an idea that will probably be tried elsewhere in France.”
The new approach to the slaughter of the Eid sheep comes after years of difficulties for French Muslims who, having bought a sheep for Eid, thought it was their right to see them killed in a local slaughterhouse.
That, however, contravened strict governmental regulations on security and hygiene. Additionally, there were relatively few slaughterhouses available for the killing of the sheep according to Halal practice.
However, with the number of sheep to be killed this year rising to 110,000, the government decided it was time to introduce new methods by which they might be slaughtered under government sanitary regulations but also religiously-authorized conditions.
The authorities have notified Muslim representatives, in particular the new official French Council for the Muslim Faith, of the changes. But they will wait to see the response before planning any future Eid-related projects.