A play written by a Muslim has sparked outrage in Spain after it emerged that a lamb has to be slaughtered for each performance in order to depict an Islamic ritual on stage.
The neighbours of a theatre in Figueres in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain, alerted an animal protection agency after hearing the distressed bleating of an animal as it was killed shortly before a matinee performance of El Cel Massa Bais – The Excessively Low Sky – last weekend.
“It is outrageous that an animal should lose its life in this way for the sake of art,” said a spokesman at the local animal refuge centre where two lambs intended for subsequent performances were taken.
The theatre company was reported to the police for infringing Article 6 of the animal protection law, which “prohibits the killing, mistreatment, and causing of harm and stress to animals used in film, TV, artistic and commercial productions”.
The play, which was on a tour of 14 theatres in the Catalan region, was shut down by police who said the group lacked the proper paperwork to slaughter animals.
Josep Pere Peyro’, the director of the play who personally killed the animals an hour before each performance, said yesterday that he was “not aware” of the legislation and that the slaughter was “being taken out of context and judged from a biased viewpoint”.
The play, by Ahmed Ghazali, a Moroccan dramatist who lives in Barcelona, examines the role of Islamic intellectuals in the face of terrorism and includes a scene with a butcher carving up the carcass of a freshly slaughtered lamb, complete with head and guts.
Yesterday Mr Peyro’ said the theatre company had had to buy and kill its own animals because it was impossible to purchase a whole fresh lamb from a shop.