Manual for the slaughter of small ruminants in developing countries
The purpose of this Manual is to set out guidelines for the slaughter of small ruminants, namely sheep and goats, in developing countries.
More than any other source of red meat, sheep and goats have the widest distribution in most areas of the developing tropics because of their prolific nature, hardiness in adverse conditions and, most important, their high rate of acceptability with the vast majority of people. Small ruminant stock occur in all types of environment, from rain forests to deserts, and are numerically more common in foreign trade than any other species of livestock (See Table 1B in Appendix I).
In most countries of Africa and Asia sheep and goats serve the dual purpose of supplying dietary needs and as a source of sacrificial offerings, the latter often precluding their use as food. For instance, the Arabian Peninsula, which embodies a number of Islamic states, though traditionally a livestock-deficient region, imports large numbers of sheep, between 4–5 million annually, for the Haji (Id-el-Fitr) festival.
The popularity of sheep and goats is not always matched by suitable methods and procedures for their conversion into food. The great majority of these animals occurs in rural areas which are also centres of tradition where ritual observances are strongest. Consequently, these are the places where they are mostly slaughtered, consumed and/or used in sacrificial offerings. Unofficial slaughter of small ruminants is much greater than officially recorded slaughter (Table 1A).