Wed, 15 Mar 2000

Proper handling of sacrificial animals

From Media Indonesia

I am a veterinarian and wish to explain the method of handling animals for sacrifice, mainly from the aspect of the consumers' health.

It is a prerequisite that sacrificial animals must be intact, healthy adults (their two incisors have changed).

Ailing animals refuse food and water, lie down all the time and suffer rapid, irregular breathing. Additionally, there may be abnormal excretions of fluid from the mouth, eyes, nose and anus. These animals should not be used for sacrifice.

The main problem is that the animals are brought to big cities from distant villages. During their journey they suffer from the heat, overcrowding, lack of water and food. This is highly detrimental to the animals' health. The main factors are dehydration and loss of energy and nutrients, both during the trip and at their enclosures in the cities. The animals are susceptible to disease and the quality of their meat declines.

How should the animals be prepared before slaughter?

First, there must be an adequate supply of water and food (5 kg to 7 kg a day for goats and 30 kg of greens for cattle). The drinking water must additionally have 10 percent sugar or brown sugar, a little salt, B-complex vitamins (fit for human consumption), with three pills for each animal. This will keep the animals in a fresh condition because their body fluids will be balanced. The quality of the meat will also improve. At the enclosures, the animals must not be exposed to rain because rainwater causes sickness.

A good method of slaughtering needs to be promoted. The animals should not suffer unnecessarily before and during the slaughter, and the halal (permitted according to Islam) way of slaughter must be adhered to. It must also be guaranteed that at the moment of slaughter, the main arteries of the throat are severed.

Another important point is the condition of toyib (clean and good), which is often overlooked. First, after slaughter, the carcass should be hung. This facilitates the skinning, but it is also cleaner and all the blood will drain from the carcass. Do not mix meat with intestines because intestines are basically dirty and full of bacteria. Intestines should be cleaned and sufficiently boiled before distribution. The meat should be put in plastic bags used for food items or wrapped in leaves.

Even in a clean condition and at a room temperature of about 30 centigrade, the bacteria in the meat will rapidly breed in five hours (about 2.6 million bacteria per square centimeter). Therefore, the meat must be immediately distributed to the people entitled to a share.