Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

JM Coetzee Outraged by the Suffering of Animals in Gaza Abattoirs, Calls for End to Live Cattle Trade

The Childhood of JesusJM Coetzee, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate and patron for the animal protection institute Voiceless, has expressed his horror at the footage emerging from abattoirs in Gaza where cattle are battered, have their eyes put out, and the tendons of their legs cut, before their throats are slashed.

Coetzee calls on Australia (where he now resides) to end its part in the live cattle trade, saying: “If taxpayers’ money has to be used to subsidise the graziers while they are weaned from practices that have become a national disgrace, so be it.”

THE festival of Eid al-Adha is a busy time in the abattoirs of Gaza, as it is all over Islam. During this festival, which commemorates the sacrifice or non-sacrifice of his son by the patriarch Abraham, sheep, goats and cattle are slaughtered (“sacrificed”) on a large scale – some 100 million beasts worldwide, it is said.

The handlers at the abattoirs have no time to rest; more than likely the management has to bring in casual labour (to kill an ox you don’t need a certificate in butchery, they reason, just strong nerves and a knife). People who run abattoirs (a French word – the more down-to-earth English word is shambles) don’t generally advertise their activities. In parts of the United States, they have even made the filming of their activities a crime, economic terrorism.

Book details


Please register or log in to comment