Q: Is it permissible to
slaughter loose donkeys
whose owners are unknown? They might have left these donkeys, for they become a burden and they no longer ride or use them in carrying things. These donkeys cannot be sold, for people are now using modern means of transportation. Leaving them loose damages farms and causes accidents that kill many Muslims. Many people complain about them. It is worth mentioning that if these donkeys are to be slaughtered, their meat will be eaten by the animals in the Zoo.
If the matter is as you have described, it will be better to feed these donkeys and cure them if they are weak or ill, injured or limp. Such donkeys should be taken to animal hospitals to be fed and treated, thus you can make use of them in the same way the Societies for the Protection of Animals do in many countries. This is to show mercy to animals and to preserve money as Shari`ah urges us to do. It takes the same ruling of Luqatah (a lost item found by someone else). It should be given to its owner at any time according to the Shari`ah. However, after they are treated and fed, if they are still useless, they should be killed (Part No. 26; Page No. 169) to ward off their evil and danger. This should be done along with killing them softly using a fast and easy means for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
Verily, Allah has enjoined goodness upon everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.