Proposed Amendment to Animal Slaughter Regulations in South Africa


Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the government is not currently seeking to come up with national regulations to govern the religious and cultural slaughter of animals in the country.

However, she said that the Commission for Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Rights (CRL), which deals with many aspects involved in the process, will go to the municipal councils with recommendations and proposals.

The religious and cultural slaughter of animals in South Africa, particularly in residential areas with mixed demographics, often elicits complaints from members outside the communities who do not subscribe to these religions or cultures.

However, the right to hold such ceremonies is enshrined and protected by the constitution. The details of how these ceremonies should be performed, however, are currently governed by city council regulations, which some lawmakers say are discriminatory.

Responding in a written parliamentary question-and-answer session asking when national regulations for customary logging would be introduced, Dlamini-Zuma said municipal regulations adequately address the issue – at least for now.

“Based on the work of the commission (CRL) and its ongoing engagements with affected municipalities, we believe there may not be a need to enact national legislation at this stage,” he said. she declared.

How customary logging is managed in South Africa

Instead of any national regulations controlling the ins and outs of ritual slaughter in South Africa, it is up to the municipalities to set out the correct procedure in their bylaws.

Although these may differ from region to region, regulations regarding slaughter are generally guided by the Meat Safety Act, 40 of 2000, which provides for the slaughter of animals for religious purposes. or self-consumption, and details the humane slaughter of animals. say the animals.

Generally, municipal guidelines for customary slaughter include:

  • Animals cannot be kept before slaughter for a period longer than 12 hours;
  • The animal should not be stressed at any time before slaughter and should be handled humanely;
  • The animal must be slaughtered in an area where the slaughter cannot be observed by any person in the neighboring premises or by any member of the public;
  • Meat from the slaughtered carcass must be handled hygienically;
  • Meat from the slaughtered carcass must not be offered for sale.

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

According to Dlamini-Zuma, this is something the CRL Rights Commission says it will address.

“In recent work done by the CRL Rights Commission on the review of regulations affecting the killing of animals for cultural and religious purposes in the 8 metropolitan municipalities during the previous fiscal year, the Commission observed that the application deadline for the slaughter of animals in some of the metropolitan municipalities needs to be revised to take into account the slaughter for funerals.

“Similarly, the Commission found that in other municipalities, bylaws need to be made more explicit regarding expectations for felling in a residential area. As part of its assistance intervention, the Commission is organizing meetings with these municipalities to move these files forward,” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma added that any communities that feel discriminated against when wanting to cull for cultural purposes can contact the CRL for assistance.


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