Ebd el Kabir –
Islamic Feast of Sacrifice.

January 2005 Ceuta, Morocco


In the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (northern Morocco), 6000 sheep are slaughtered without stunning during the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice. The animals originate from northern Spain and for a small part from France. Two farms serve as collection points. There, the families pick up their “sacrificial” animal. The cruelty starts already during transport; with their legs tied up, the animals are transported in car boots, in the back of station wagons, in wheelbarrows or on roof racks.


The slaughtering starts after the first Morning Prayer at 10 o’clock and finishes at 12 o’clock. Some of the animals (approx 20%) are slaughtered, skinned and carved up in the municipal slaughterhouse by trained personnel. Approximately 30% of the animals are killed in mobile slaughterhouses, i.e. in tents with water supply. Here, the slaughtering is carried out by amateurs, frequently with unsuitable knives, which intensifies the pain and suffering of the animals due to repeated cuts.


Children and women, in long and sweeping clothes and with open shoes, are standing in pools of blood in order to skin and carve the animals up. Half the animals are slaughtered in private houses or on the beach, without any supervision by the authorities.


There is a terrible smell of urine and excrement in many parts of the city. The carcasses attract insects and pests. The streets and beaches are full of the remainders of the slaughtered animals and their blood. The sewage and the bay of Ceuta turn blood –red.


The Feast of Sacrifice has a long tradition even though it is in violation of the current laws.



Article and photo kindly supplied by author.