Butchers have further jacked up prices of mutton and beef in Rawalpindi amidst the short supply of cattle from Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa owing to the closure of roads and highways caused by the recent floods.
The unusual short supply of animals brought from other regions has led to a crisis of beef and mutton in the garrison city. The business of butchers has also been badly affected by the difference in the demand and supply of meat.
An extraordinary decrease in the sale of meat has also been seen in about 1,000 shops in Rawalpindi city and Cantonment.
Shops which used to butcher three to four animals barely have to put up with a single slaughtered animal as consumers make a beeline for meat outside each shop.
Most butchers sell the meat by 10am and consumers return empty-handed.
Meat is available only in those shops on Jamia Masjid Road and other areas that have their own animal farms.
Others buy animals from the cattle markets where animals were sold at high prices by the suppliers.
Mutton which used to be sold at Rs1,600 per kg is now being sold at Rs1,800 kg. Beef, which used to be sold at Rs800 per kg, is now being sold at Rs1,000.
Qurban Hussain, a cattle dealer, said that animals were supplied from South Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the Rawalpindi district but now the transportation of animals from these areas has stopped due to the death of a large number of animals and the destruction caused to the road infrastructure by the recent floods.
He said that the animals reared in the Rawalpindi district were not enough to meet the increasing demand of consumers. Rawalpindi district, Attock district, Jhelum district and Chakwal district, have already experienced an extraordinary decrease in animal production.
Trader Arshad Malik said that there was already a shortage of animals after Eid ul Azha and now the floods have further exacerbated the situation. He said that animals are so expensive that buyers could not afford to pay the price and sell the meat for a reasonable rate after paying transportation costs and the slaughterhouse fee.
Butchers Munir Hussain, Ghulam Muhammad and Bashir Ahmed, who sell beef and mutton in Rawalpindi city and Cantonment said that the business was already slow after Eid ul Azha and now the supply of animals from flood-affected areas has come to a standstill.
They said that due to floods, animals were no longer available and the existing ones are very expensive. They said that the situation will be normalised after the supply of animals resumed from flooded areas.
Citizens Muhammad Abbas Shabeer Ahmed and Qamar Waheed said that meat was not available at butchers’ shops and the ones who have, sell it for higher rates.
Meanwhile, Rawalpindi Livestock Department Additional Director Dr Naveed Sahar Zaidi said that an unusual decline in lumpy skin disease cases has been witnessed in the Rawalpindi district, but the department continues with the vaccination of animals.
He said that so far 50,500 animals have been vaccinated, while 2,600 animals affected by lumpy skin disease are being treated in quarantine. He said that so far 150 animals have died from the disease.
He said that there is no truth that the lumpy skin disease is transmitted to humans after the consumption of meat and milk of the infected animals. If an animal has a disease, it takes a toll on the milk production, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2022.
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