Welsh farmers have met with Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones to express their opposition to EU plans to introduce Eid for Muslim sheep and goats. The EU believes that creating a three day holiday at the end of Ramadan would go some way to show Muslims that it is serious about building a mature relationship with Islam. It is also seen as helping to pave the way for Turkish accession into the EU.
However, NFU Cymru vice-president Ed Bailey does not agree. "It is just another example of Brussels bureaucrats having pie in the sky ideas without any understanding of the practical realities of commercial sheep farming...Sheep farmers throughout Wales are horrified at the prospect of having to cope with Eid which would serve no purpose."
It is thought that giving Muslim sheep and goats three days off milking would reduce farmers' incomes, as well as create tensions between Muslim livestock and those that follow an alternative religion, who would not necessarily understand why their Muslim colleagues were getting three days paid leave.
Dolly, spokewoman for Atheist Livestock Association (ALA), pointed out the particular frustrations felt by the atheist community: "Personally I find it difficult to believe in any sort of deity since my own creation showed that mature differentiated somatic cells in an adult animal's body could under some circumstances revert back to an undifferentiated pluripotent form and then develop into any part of an animal. The idea of introducing a three day holiday just for one section of the livestock community is really baad. It's pure folly."
Following the meeting with farmers the Minister visited Mynachdy Farm, at Ynysbwl, near Pontypridd, to see a live demonstration of sheep Eid. Sheep there have been taught Welsh from a young age and were able to recite Takbir bilingually for the benefit of Ms Jones, who doesn't speak Arabic. The sheep then celebrated the end of fasting with lots of grass.