During Eid-ul-Adha every year thousands of animals are being slaughtered in our country and in many other countries. The question is whether it should be watched by the children or not? Some say yes they should, as it is a religious custom, children should know how animals are being sacrificed and why? While others say children should know from where the meat is coming.
Few studies are being conducted on this issue but none of them concluded if children can witness slaughtering. Some said they can after seven years of age, some said if they wish they can and some said better to avoid as there may be some psychological or physical trauma.
It is not appropriate for a person of any age to be forced to witness something they are not interested in. Slaughtering often requires the use of sharp knives, has slippery blood on the ground, and a heavy animal. If a child is near, one adult must be dedicated to keeping the child free from the many potential dangers. The slaughter should be as humane as possible. No animal should be slaughtered in an inhumane way and witnessing a stressing animal will most likely disturb a child.
Children are very curious about life and death. Even if a child does not witness the moment of death, seeing a dead animal can help them sort out what dying can be like. Killing animals for meat is part of the human food cycle. If there is a good chat before, during and after the slaughter, it can be a good way of educating the children about the realities of life and values in that respect. Keep your kids safe and away from all potential dangers during the process.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College (CBMC), Mymensingh.