Published Thursday 7 April 2016 at 12:26
A MAN who slaughtered two sheep for a family celebration has been ordered to pay almost £4,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animals.
Suhayl Ali, 37, of East Park Road, Blackburn, admitted killing the animals using a knife without stunning the sheep or having the necessary knowledge or skill to perform the task.
Blackburn Magistrates’ Court heard he purchased the animals for £180 from a man he had previously met in sandwich shop on August 6, 2015. He said he believed the man to be a farmer from ‘the way he was dressed’.
Prosecutor Jack Henriques, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Principal Solicitor, told the court the sheep had been slaughtered at Ali’s home in disturbing circumstances.
He said the animals had not been killed in an approved way and added that animal cruelty was very much the central issue in the case.
“It came to the local authority’s attention by way of a telephone call from someone in the vicinity. They saw a man coming out of the premises with red on his T-shirt which appeared to be blood.”
The court heard how officers then conducted an investigation and found two carcasses, one bowl on the floor containing pluck (the insides of an animal) and blood on the garage floor.
Mr Henriques added:
“At the time of this killing the sheep entered the premises walking and we do know they entered in once piece.
“The ear tag had been removed from one animal and the other ear had been totally removed from the other carcass, thus preventing the local authority from being able to identify where the sheep came from.”
The Court was then shown photographs of blood that had been splattered around various parts of the premises
“When we look at this evidence as a whole, one can only conclude that this would have induced intense fear in the second animal.”
Ali’s representative told the court her client was put under pressure from his parents and brother to carry out the slaughtering for a feast following the birth of his brother’s son.
She said that this was part of a cultural tradition called Aqiqah, a ritual which involves the sacrifice of an animal when a child is born in the family, where one lamb is slaughtered for a girl and two for a boy.
Ali’s defence told the court:
“When you have a small family a lamb is slaughtered in Pakistan and the meat is given to the poor. However, because there are 70 immediate family members here, his family wanted them to have the feast they would have done back in the home country.
“It was a huge mistake, he is deeply ashamed to be in this courtroom and had he known that it was not allowed, he would not have done it.
“He doesn’t earn a huge amount of money but looks after his family. He and his brother run a burger van selling burgers and chips on London Road outside St Mary’s College serving food to the students.
“They have a small living that enables him to look after his family; he takes his children to school and mosque.”
“This will not happen again.”
The chairman of the magistrates said:
“We do believe you were put under a certain amount of pressure for doing this intentional act which caused harm to both the animals and the environment.”
Magistrates took into account that there were no previous convictions but stated the rate payers of Blackburn should not be held responsible for the costs incurred in bringing the case before the court.
The court handed down fines for causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, not stunning them, killing without an approved method and not removing specified risk materials at a place other than an approved slaughter house.
He was ordered to pay a total of £3775 in fines and costs.
The carcasses are currently being stored by the Council’s Environmental Health Department. Officers are keen to find out where the sheep came from and to identify the owner.
Any farmer who believes the sheep may have belonged to them is urged to come forward and contact the Council on 01254 585585.
About the slaughter of animals
The slaughter of animals must only be carried out by an approved slaughter house.
Specified risk material must be stained before disposal to avoid it getting into the food chain and protect against the transmission of BSE to human beings.