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For first time, Saudi women work at slaughterhouse

The women are supervising the slaughtering of animals, assisting other women who want to use the slaughterhouse and distributing meat among the poor and needy

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For the first time ever, 15 Saudi women are supervising the slaughtering of sheep, cattle and camels at Al-Moaissim Model Slaughterhouse, near Mina, this hajj season.

Bandar al-Suhairi, chairman of the company operating the slaughterhouse, said the women are supervising the slaughtering of animals, assisting other women who want to use the slaughterhouse and distributing meat among the poor and needy.

He said the women employees were assigned the tasks of supervision and control and they prevent other women from entering the place where animals are being slaughtered.

“These are seasonal workers. The women are being employed for the first time at a slaughterhouse during the hajj,” he said.

Al-Suhairi said about 45,000 heads of sheep were slaughtered during the first day of Eid al-Adha.

“Under the Islamic Sharia, the slaughtering of sheep begins at sunrise and continues until sunset,” he said.

During the next three days about 10,000 heads of sheep will be slaughtered daily. Al-Suhairi said about 1,000 people are working in the slaughterhouse such as butchers, cleaners and other workers.

“There are about 65 Saudis who are doing the supervision and control work. They are organizing entry into the slaughterhouse,” he said.

There are 26 veterinarians at the slaughterhouse who examine the animals before and after slaughtering to ensure they are in good health and that their meat is suitable for human consumption.

He said slaughtered meat was stored in a large fridge until it is time to be distributed among the poor and needy by the welfare societies. There are five slaughterhouses in Moassim with a daily capacity of slaughtering 500,000 heads of animals.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014.