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Hamtramck City Council votes to allow animal sacrifice for religious purposes in the city

Posted at 6:11 AM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 06:11:19-05

(WXYZ) — After months of debate, the city council has voted to allow the practice of animal sacrifice, for religious purposes, in Hamtramck.

The decision ultimately came down to a more than 30-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says cities cannot infringe on religious freedom under the first amendment.

The act of animal sacrifice is often practiced among Muslims during Eid.

“Our city is dirty enough. We don't want to make it more dirty,” a Hamtramck resident said during a city hall meeting.

“Really ridiculous catastrophic resolution,” another one said. "If it’s not passed then we are ready to take it to courts for religious rights because it is constitution."

There was a crowd outside of the city council chambers of people watching the decision and filling out cards to speak.

“It's not safe or sane or humane because basement kitchens and backyards are not suitable places for live animal slaughter,” one resident said.

Many people, including Muslim residents, were against it citing sanitary concerns if the animals are sacrificed in a home and not in a sterile environment, especially in the tight neighborhoods of Hamtramck.

The ordinance that was passed Tuesday night says religious sacrificing of animals can be done as long as it is done legally and humanely.

"I think it’s the best compromise. We don't want to restrict religious freedoms and we don't want to keep it random without regulations," Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib said.

Many Muslims pay a butcher to perform the religious sacrifice but for some families, it's just not practical.

“A lot of families will typically do it in the confines of their property like in their backyard or their garage and dispose of the animal accordingly," Director of Safe Spaces at Cair Michigan Nour Ali said.

According to the ordinance, "any person wishing to conduct an animal sacrifice for religious purposes must notify the city by reporting such intention to the clerk’s office at least one week prior to the date of animal sacrifice."