Abu Dhabi: It is illegal to slaughter animals in residential premises or public places and the authorities will be keeping a strict vigil during Eid to prevent such practices, a senior official told Gulf News.

"People have to utilise the services of slaughterhouses of the municipality," said Khalifa Mohammad Al Rumaithi, the head of the slaughterhouses.

A committee comprising the officials from the Ministry of Labour, Abu Dhabi Municipality and Abu Dhabi Police will patrol the city during Eid, he said.

If a butcher is caught slaughtering animals illegally, he will be punished as per the labour law.

"He may be jailed and deported after the due legal process. His sponsor will be slapped with a Dh10,000 fine.

"The owner of the animal will get a Dh2000 fine," Al Rumaithi said.

He told journalists that illegal slaughtering can cause serious health risks.

Safety checks

At the slaughter houses about 18 veterinary doctors conduct quality checks on animals, so it is assured that meat is fit for human consumption, Al Rumaithi explained.

"But there is no such check-ups when you do it at home," he said.

And after slaughtering, people could dump the remnants like skin at the garbage boxes in residential areas, he pointed out. "That causes smell, attract flies and creates further health hazards," he explained.

Eid: where to go

Four slaughter houses will be working in Abu Dhabi from 7am-7pm during Eid.

1. Automated slaughter house in Mina (for public and private companies).2. Public slaughter houses in Mina (for common public). 3. Public slaughter house in Baniyas. 4. Public slaughter house in Al Shahama.

On Eid Al Adha last year, the Mina slaughter house road was blocked as more than three thousand people flocked with their animals for sacrifices just after the Eid prayers, a senior official said. "According to Islamic practice, the animal sacrifice could be done within four days of Eid Al Adha, it does not need to be on the first day itself," said Khalifa Mohammad Al Rumaithi, head of the slaughterhouses. "Although the public slaughterhouse has the capacity to slaughter 3,500-4,000 sheep or goat, just three 3,000 animals could be slaughtered on the first day of Eid," he said. "The rush complicates organising the slaughtering in order, so minimises our efficiency. Most of the people come with their family members and drivers, causing huge rush", he explained. He advised the residents not to rush for the sacrifice on the first day of Eid but do it later.

Last year 2,400 sheep or goats were slaughtered on the second day of Eid, said Dr Najdat M. Nour, chief veterinarian at the Mina Road slaughterhouse.