BLOOMFIELD (NBC) — The slaughter in a Home Depot parking lot of a calf that escaped a butcher shop and led employees on a chase has sparked outrage by animal lovers and elicited racist messages online.
The calf broke out of the Saba Live Poultry store in Bloomfield, Connecticut, on July 13 and ran behind the store across the street. A contractor who was doing construction work on the butcher shop even tried to shoot the animal with a bow and arrow, to no avail.
Dashboard camera footage from a Bloomfield Police officer who briefly followed the animal by car shows the animal eluding several people who tried to corral it.
When employees of the butchery finally did wrestle the calf the ground, Badr Musaed, who works in the shop, cut its throat.
Bilal Musid, the manager of the halal butcher shop, apologized for the killing but said his employees feared the animal would cause serious injury to someone if not stopped.
“It was kind of even attacking employees,” he said, explaining why his colleague went to such extremes to end the chase.
The Bloomfield Police Department confirmed that animals have previously escaped the store, but a slaughter like this has never happened before.
After the calf is killed, a police officer can be heard on audio captured by his body camera telling a man from the shop who is holding a knife that there is a problem, noting that, for instance, a bystander saw it. The man seems at a loss and replies that the bystander is frequently in the butcher shop.
“OK, but we’re not in your store right now. We’re in the back of a Home Depot,” the officer replies.
Animal activists are decrying the public slaughter. That the butcher shop was halal — which means it slaughters animals using knives in accordance with Islamic dietary laws — has led to a stream of racist comments posted on webpages associated with the store. Police have cited Musaed for public disturbance, and the state Department of Agriculture briefly shut it down.
Musid said he understands the public reaction to the killing.