Greater Eid: ritually slaughtered meat has to come from Scotland
Belgium’s Muslims celebrate the Holiday of
the Sacrifice or Eid al-Adha from last weekend and till Tuesday. Traditionally the feast includes freshly
slaughtered mutton, but because the holiday fell largely in the weekend Muslims
eager only to put mutton from a sheep slaughtered following prayers had to rely
on shipments from Scotland and Ireland.
The original idea was to slaughter a sheep
to provide food for family and friends, but especially for the poor who never
eat mutton. Today many Muslims prefer to
make donations instead ensuring that food is distributed in Morocco, Turkey or
The Holiday of Sacrifice falling at the
weekend meant an extra headache for people eager for meat from an animal that
had been subjected to traditional ritual slaughter as this can only be done
after prayers i.e. after Saturday at 7AM.
The Brussels Abattoir is closed at the weekend and it’s the only abattoir
in Belgium where the unstunned slaughter of animals is still permitted as required
by the Muslim ritual. For several years
now temporary slaughter facilities have no longer been made available to cope
with demand during Muslim feasts. This meant all the meat in the shops on
Saturday came from animals slaughtered before Saturday prayers. The only way to
get hold of meat from correctly ritually slaughtered animals was to wait for
imports from Scotland and Ireland.
The meat is imported via foreign
wholesalers. Eight or nine trucks were
expected to supply shops in the abattoir neighbourhood last weekend. The meat comes from animals that have been
ritually slaughtered after Saturday prayers.
After a journey through French customs it arrived in Brussels on Sunday around
However, Brussels media outlet Bruzz
reports that many Muslims weren’t minded to wait that long and ordered meat
from their usual butcher.
In recent years few instances of the
illegal slaughter of animals at home have been reported. In 2020 police in the Brussels-South zone
recorded around a dozen illegal acts of slaughter during the Holiday of