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Animal Protection Amendments Affect Status of Pests, Rules on Ritual Slaughter

Source: Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Mikiwikipikidikipedia)

Moles - the garden variety - will be fair game for extermination in Estonia next year if they tunnel into lawn and garden areas, according to a bill drafted by the Agricultural Ministry for amending the Animal Protection Act.

Although the similarly burrowing voles, not moles, cause more direct damage to horticulture, all major home and garden centers already stock mole traps and poisons. But under law, only rodents and insects are classified as vermin.

The Ministry's bill would expand the classification, as it says the damage caused by moles in parks, lawns and gardens exceeds a critical threshold.

It would still be illegal to kill a mole in undeveloped natural habitats such as forests.

The package of amendments to the act also includes changes to dhabihah and shechita slaughter rules that stand to affect the 4,000 practicing Moslems and 2,000-member Jewish Community in Estonia. If enacted, the amendment would permit ritual slaughter only in licensed slaughterhouses.

"This requirement has been introduced so that  it would be possible to enforce the requirements. As slaughterhouses staff a veterinary supervision official, it would be possible to immediately verify whether hygiene requirements have been followed and whether the requirements listed on the permit for slaughter of livestock for religious purposes are being followed," the ministry said in an explanatory memorandum.

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