OTTAWA An Ottawa sheep farmer wont avoid a guilty verdict on March 11 for charges relating to operating an unlicensed slaughter plant, despite an unusual bid to use his Muslim customers freedom of religion as a defence.
In 2012, Anthony Scissons sold a live lamb to three Muslim men, who performed a ritual slaughter governed by Islamic law on his Ottawa-area farm.
The Ministry of Natural Resources charged Scissons with operating a slaughter plant without a licence, failing to get ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections, and three counts of selling or distributing a meat carcass. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 or two years in jail.
The Food Safety and Quality Act, says farmers can slaughter animals on-farm to eat with their immediate family but the carcass cannot leave the farm.
In his Feb. 10 decision, justice of the peace Brian Mackey ruled that the law minimally impairs religious freedom.