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The bloody torture of 6,000 lambs

8 November 2011

Bloody torture of 6,000 lambs

Yesterday morning Animal Equality documented the ritual lamb slaughter on the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’ ('Eid al-Adha') or ‘Fiesta Grande’ ('Eid-al-Kebir') in Melilla, Spain. This gruesome slaughter of 6,000 animals was carried out in full view of locals, including children, and animals who were tied up waiting helplessly for their turn.

At half past nine on the morning of 7 November, thousands of faithful Muslims gathered at the courtyard of El Pinar de Melilla to pray. Half an hour later, one of the faithful immobilised a lamb tied to a nearby tree, and slit his throat.

This first bloody death marked the beginning of a series of massacres which took place in the city streets and inner courtyards of houses in both Melilla and Ceuta. It lasted just an hour and took the lives of approximately 6,000 lambs. A further 6 million animals were killed during similar ‘celebrations’ in Morocco.

It has been claimed that the slaughtering of animals in this way leads to little suffering, with some even claiming the animals do no suffer at all. Yet Animal Equality has documented the graphic nature of this killing.


Men are generally responsible for the killing, and children watch with intensity as the animals die before them. During the ritual, Animal Equality noted a disturbing lack of sensitivity and empathy by the children, who were often spitting on the bodies of animals (dead and alive), and playing with the lambs’ heads after they had been severed.

The killing, as shocking as it is, is only a part of the torment that these animals have to endure. Thousands are forced to travel thousands of miles from farms in Murcia, Ciudad Real, Huelva, Extremadura, Malaga and Seville on mainland Spain, to Melilla and Ceuta. Many die on route - as has been recently published in the Spanish media [1].

In filming the lamb slaughter in Melilla, Spain we wish to draw attention to the general way in which humans exploit and harm other sentient beings with little thought for their interests or lives. While the way these killings are carried out is particularly gruesome, both Animal Equality and other animal rights groups have filmed similar torture occurring in conventional slaughterhouses throughout Europe and the UK, including in so-called “high welfare” slaughterhouses.

Quite apart from these traumatic scenes, killing another sentient being is always unjust, no matter how it is carried out. All methods of slaughter are equally wrong and are the consequences of an irrational prejudice towards members of a different species than our own. This prejudice is known as speciesism. Fortunately we can easily ensure that animals never have to face the horrors of slaughter at all – by becoming vegan we can each personally spare up to 95 animals a year from this terrifying experience. Now that going vegan is easier than ever before and has been proven to be healthy there really is no barrier.

Animal Equality believes that it is time for kindness and respect to be extended beyond our own species and incorporated into our daily lives through the adoption of a vegan lifestyle which excludes all animal products.

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Laura Gough
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44(0)753 843 1754

[1] On 25 October more than one hundred and eighty lambs were asphyxiated during transport from Algeciras to Ceuta. Source: El Pueblo de Ceuta.