This year’s supply for the Korban ritual saw a combination of 1,855 lambs from Ireland and 1,980 sheep from Australia. (Photo: JKMS)
Thanks to the collective efforts of AVA, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), and other industry stakeholders, Korban, a major religious sacrificial rite observed by the local Muslim community, was successfully held on 24 September 2015. This Islamic rite of worship involves the slaughtering of sheep and goats, and distributing the meat to the poor and needy.
As the agency responsible for Singapore’s resilience in food supply and the national authority for food safety, animal health and welfare, AVA plays a key role in this annual event. We ensure that there is a sufficient supply of healthy livestock for the Korban rites and facilitate the diversification of animal imports to mitigate any disruption in supply. Through our regulatory control of the supply chain – from the point of import to slaughter – the entire process is kept in line with international animal welfare practices.
Currently, Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, and the USA have been approved to export livestock to Singapore for Korban rituals. While Australia remains the primary source of livestock for Korban in Singapore, this year’s supply saw a combination of 1,855 lambs from Ireland and 1,980 sheep from Australia. A total of 3,835 animals were sacrificed at 25 mosques and two Malay-Muslim organisations.
Maintaining High Standards
Only sources that meet AVA’s animal health and food safety standards are allowed to export livestock to Singapore. We adhere to an accreditation process and only import livestock after the country’s animal health and veterinary public health system, as well as the management of the proposed export farm, has been evaluated. AVA conducts checks on the infrastructure and operations set-up at the slaughter venues. Our stringent checks continue even after the livestock arrives in Singapore. AVA officers perform health and documentary checks on the animals upon arrival, as well as conduct inspections at various stages of the supply chain to ensure animal welfare, control, and traceability.
“AVA officers were there with us from the start, from planning for the tender documentation right through to actual operations. The close working relationship gave assurance to the exporting country's authority that their livestock will be well taken care of in accordance to international animal welfare standards. Our annual Korban exercise is improved year on year as a result of the close partnership with AVA.”
Mr Rashid Ramli,
Chairman of the Singapore Mosques Korban Committee (JKMS) 2015
Partnership and Training
Besides accreditation, checks, and inspections, public-community-private partnerships are also crucial for every successful Korban. AVA officers worked together with our counterparts from MUIS, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as members of the public to train key coordinators, slaughter-men, animal handlers, and butchers prior to Korban. In addition, we provided briefing and hands-on training on animal welfare, animal handling techniques, set-up of facilities, and food safety.
We are constantly reviewing the training programmes and enlarging the pool of trained personnel. A system to identify and retain trained key officers for subsequent Korbans is already in the works.
AVA Scores a Win
In recognition of AVA’s efforts in facilitating the annual Korban event, we were presented with the Minister’s Award (Team) at the MND National Day Observance ceremony on 6 August 2015.
Going forward, we will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to strengthen the supply of livestock, safeguard public health, and maintain animal welfare standards.