State Blocks Muslim Celebration Involving Animal Slaughter

Posted December 15, 2007
Updated December 16, 2007

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— A judge has told a Johnston County farmer that he cannot open his farm to Muslim families planning to slaughter lambs as part of an annual religious celebration.

The judge issued a 10-day injunction Friday, meaning that about 250 Muslim families in Wake County will have to make other arrangements for slaughtering lambs they bought in advance of the three-day Festival of the Sacrifice, which begins on Wednesday.

Kenneth and Eddie Rowe have tangled before with the state over the mass slaughter of lambs on their 300-acre farm. They said they have been conducting the slaughtering in their 80x100 barn for the past six years.

In 2005, the Rowes preserved their right to carry on the tradition. The state Department of Agriculture fined them $10,000 for the practice the same year, but the Rowes have not yet paid it.

State agriculture officials said the Rowes must build a custom slaughter facility. The two men say that would cost $740,000. State officials said mass slaughters conducted any other way are unsanitary and threaten an outbreak of disease.

Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, marks the end of hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Islam's most holy city. Because the holiday is set to a lunar calendar, the date on which it is celebrated changes by 11 days each year.

The lamb slaughter commemorates the day when Muslims believe God allowed the patriarch Abraham to sacrifice a ram, instead of his son. Muslims believe the son to be sacrificed was Ishmael, rather than Isaac as recorded in the Christian Old Testament.

A mass prayer service on the State Fairgrounds has preceded the slaughter on the Rowes' farm in the past.

Eddie Rowe said he and his father plan to fight this court ruling, although the injunction prevents them from returning to court until it is over. They have considered selling the Muslim families land on which to perform the ceremony.

Eddie Rowe said sending the lambs – which cost around $32,000 – to slaughterhouses is not acceptable option, because the families then could not watch.


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  • Tripwire Dec 17, 2007

    I just don't know what they think they are accomplishing by killing all those animals. Killing animals for food is one thing but it sure seems like waste to kill them for no real reason other than some obsolete religeous ceremony that doesn't actually do anything. Why don't we just throw some virgins down the volcano to end this drought. I can't believe that people still actually believe in such hogwash.

  • marathonk Dec 17, 2007

    I'm totally blown away by the ignorance of some of the posts. To think that the only way to have sanitary meat is to slaughter the animal in a USDA approved facility. Where do you think the e-coli contaminated ground beef comes from is being recalled periodically. Animals can be slaughtered humanely and sanitarily on private property. There are too many surbanites who are so far removed from the source of their food that they think it grows on styrofoam trays. I would like to know what makes the slaughter of lambs on private property unsanitary?

  • notpc567 Dec 17, 2007

    claudnc... I agree. Back during the depression people lived off what they could get. I am 40 yrs old and from eastern NC and remember the fall hog killin' as a child. Religious it was not, but a necessity for families to eat in the winter. My boys have had the privilage of being taught how to feed themselves ( rabbit,squirrel,dear,fish- kill it and clean it). People need to get off their high horses and mind their own business.

  • Chesire Grin Dec 17, 2007

    Look, I love chomping on some lamb as much as the next gal, but I don't see why we have to allow a bunch of religious fanatics to inhumanely slaughter the things. What exactly is the process? Chop and go?

  • Blessyourheart Dec 17, 2007

    And people wonder why i'm not religious. Ha.

  • PaulRevere Dec 17, 2007

    Better a lamb than innocent Americans.

  • daisy Dec 17, 2007

    Is this about religious freedom or about sanitary conditions? From the article I gathered its more about the conditions that slaughtering that many animals in one place would create.

  • 1crazygirl Dec 17, 2007

    How is slaughtering these animals any different than what Michael Vick did to those poor dogs. He paid money for them, and then killed them if they could not perform. Dont get me wrong I am a meat eater, but there is a proper place and way of slaughtering these animals. Not in a Barn on someones private property. AND who in the world would want to watch this??

  • dogmama Dec 17, 2007

    They should respect the laws in the US against animal slaughter and travel back to a Muslim country to practice this killing of animals.

  • dlentz2 Dec 17, 2007

    Anyone got any more details on this? Is it one lamb per family 250? How do they do it-ceremony details... Do they eat them? Come on - SOMEBODY must know...
    I think I read somewhere that they carry the unused meat to a rescue mission or something. I know this is not something that we are use to but just like any religion they have rights. We don't want the government getting involved in our worship services in our churches and if this is something that they have done for generations why should they be stopped now.