LAHORE: As Eidul Azha is just around the corner, the trading activity of sacrificial animal in makeshift cattle markets has gained momentum in the provincial capital. However, most citizens are complaining about the high prices of sacrificial animals, especially goats and sheep.
A survey of makeshift cattle markets in different areas of the city indicated that prices of goats range between Rs30,000 to Rs65,000 per animal, while sheep are being traded between Rs25,000 and Rs50,000 per animal. Prices of big animals, including cows and camels, range between Rs55,000 to Rs250,000 depending on the weight and appearance of the animal.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Rahat Munir, a resident of Township areas, said prices of all sacrificial animals have been jacked up ahead of Eidul Azha. “Cattle traders are demanding exorbitantly high prices for sacrificial animals which has made it really difficult, if not impossible, for common citizens to sacrifice in remembrance of Sunnat-e-Ibrahimi,” he underlined.
Another citizen, Imtiaz Sheikh, also complained about the high prices of the sacrificial animal. He said every year citizens make similar complaints but consecutive governments failed to address the problem. “The government should introduce some price regulations to curb unfair pricing of sacrificial animals. Such initiative will offer an opportunity to low and middle-income citizens to fulfill their religious obligation,” he maintained.
A Gulshan Ravi resident, Ghazanfar Ali, said he has been visiting cattle markets for past couple of days to check the market trend. Generally, cattle vendor are demanding higher rates even for an average size animal. “I believe sacrificial animal prices will fall a day before Eid as it is impossible for traders and cattle farmers to bring these animals back to their hometowns owing to high cost of transportation.
Right now they are trying to reap maximum profits by demanding higher prices but they have to adjust their unjust pricing near Eidul Azha,” he said. A cattle trader, Anwar Baloch, tried to dispel the impression that farmers and traders have jacked up sacrificial animal prices ahead of Eid. Following an increase in the petroleum prices, he highlighted, the cost of transportation has been multiplied when compared to the previous year. “Cost of fodder, labour and living expenses in the provincial capital have also been increased. Most farmers and traders are trying to dispose of their stocks at the earliest otherwise their cost of animal maintenance will further increase,” he maintained. Similar remarks were made by several other vendors and none of them accepted that prices have been jacked up.
Available estimates indicate that nearly 400,000 animals are slaughtered in the provincial metropolis during three days of Eidul Azha.
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has already issued a warning of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (Congo fever) as Congo fever cases can go high as Eid is almost around and the people getting in contact with sacrificial animals would be at risk.
Medical experts have advised citizens to avoid direct contact with sacrificial animals while visiting cattle markets or handling animals. They have advised citizens to wear light coloured full-sleeved clothes and shoes with socks. Apply insect repellent on the exposed areas of the body and take bath after returning from cattle markets.
During the slaughtering of the animals, PMA experts say, gloves and face mask should be worn. Hands must always be washed immediately after removing gloves, keep animal pelt separately in plastic sheets as they may have ticks. Do not dispose of waste or blood on the streets and avoid contact with infected humans.
In case of high fever, muscle aches, backache, headache, vomiting, severe bruising and nosebleeds immediately see the physician.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2018.