Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkasazana Dlamini-Zuma says the government is not currently looking to put forward any national regulations to regulate religious and cultural animal slaughter in the country.

However, she said the Commission on Cultural, Religious and Linguistic (CRL) Rights, which deals with many aspects of the process, will approach municipal councils with recommendations and suggestions.

Religious and cultural animal slaughter in South Africa, particularly in residential areas with mixed demographics, often provokes complaints from members outside the community who do not follow those religions or cultures.

However, the right to hold such ceremonies is enshrined and protected by the constitution. However, the specifics of these ceremonies are currently regulated by municipal council bylaws, which some lawmakers believe are discriminatory.

Responding in a written parliamentary question and answer to when national rules on conventional slaughter will be introduced, Dlamini-Zuma said municipal bylaws adequately address the issue – at least for now.

“Based on the work of the (CRL) commission and its ongoing engagement with affected municipalities, we believe that it may not be necessary to promulgate national legislation at this stage,” she said.

How a conventional slaughterhouse is conducted in South Africa

Instead of any national regulations governing the intricacies of ritual slaughter in South Africa, it is left to municipalities to establish the correct procedure in their by-laws.

Although they may vary from unit to unit, slaughter bylaws are generally governed by the Meat Safety Act 40 of 2000, which covers the slaughter of animals for religious purposes or for personal consumption and details the humane slaughter of animals. said the animals.

In general terms, municipal guidelines for conventional slaughter include:

  • It is forbidden to keep animals before slaughter for more than 12 hours;
  • The animal must not be stressed before slaughter and must be treated humanely;
  • The animal must be slaughtered in a place where the slaughter cannot be observed by anyone from the neighboring premises or any member of the public;
  • It is necessary to observe hygienic rules with the meat of the slaughtered carcass;
  • The meat of the slaughtered carcass is not sold.

In more populated areas, the council may require those who want to kill an animal for these purposes to apply for a permit – sometimes weeks in advance.

According to Dlamini-Zuma, this is one aspect the CRL Rights Commission says it will look into.

“In the recent work carried out by the CRL Commission on the review of by-laws affecting the slaughter of animals for cultural and religious purposes in 8 metropolitan municipalities in the previous financial year, the Commission observed that the application period for animal slaughter in some metropolitan municipalities needs to be revised , to account for the slaughter for burials.

“Similarly, the Commission found that in other municipalities, by-laws need to be more specific when it comes to expectations regarding slaughter in a residential area. As part of its relief intervention, the Commission will organize a meeting with these municipalities to take these issues forward,” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma added that any communities who feel they face discrimination if they want to kill animals for cultural purposes can contact CRL for assistance.

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