ANKARA, Turkey – One man lost his toes. Others cut their hands and legs.
Hundreds of Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha holiday in emergency wards on Sunday, after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled and agitated sheep and other animals.
Muslims sacrifice cows, sheep, goats and bulls during the four-day religious holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God's provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to slay his son. They share the meat with friends, family and neighbors and give part of it to the poor.
In Turkey, at least 1,413 people — called "amateur butchers" by the Turkish media — were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Four people were severely injured when they were crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, the agency reported. Another person was hurt when a crane, used to lift an animal, tumbled onto him, the agency said.
Three people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain animals, according to television reports.
Two bulls escaped and caused havoc in the streets of the central Turkish city of Kayseri and in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, until they were caught with the help of veterinarians who fired tranquilizer darts.
Turkish authorities have introduced fines for those who slaughter animals outside facilities set up by municipalities. But many Turks again ignored the rules and sacrificed animals in their backyards or on roadsides.