Virus forces cattle markets closure

Abrupt shutdown of markets leaves traders, buyers in disarray ahead of Eidul Azha

Imran Ashgar May 27, 2024


The district administration has abruptly closed the cattle markets in Attock due to the outbreak of Congo virus cases, causing great concern among traders and buyers before Eidul Azha.

Muhammad Mursaleen, a trader from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), who had arrived with his cattle to Attock’s largest cattle market, Gondal Mandi, said he has been preparing hundreds of animals for sacrifice every year, but this year, the administration has closed the market due to the Congo virus outbreak.

The administration has taken measures to prevent the spread of the virus, but traders are facing significant losses. He urged that the cattle markets should be opened as traders would face millions of rupees in losses.

The closure of the market has also caused problems for buyers who have come from far-off places to purchase animals for sacrifice. Saeed Shamim, a citizen who came from Islamabad to purchase an animal for sacrifice, said the local administration’s decision to close the markets without prior notice has caused great inconvenience to buyers, who are forced to buy cattle at exorbitant prices from traders outside the markets.

“We have come from far-off places to purchase animals, but the administration has closed the markets without any alternative arrangement,” he said, urging that the administration should take steps to restore the market while ensuring safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

On the other hand, the Rawalpindi commissioner has issued orders to close illegal cattle markets in the region and has directed the Livestock Department to take necessary measures to prevent the spread of diseases. Commissioner, Engr Amir Khattak, has said that all necessary steps will be taken to prevent the spread of the Congo virus and other diseases. Section 144 will be enforced to prevent illegal animal trading, and mobile veterinary dispensaries will be set up to provide free medicines and treatment to animals in authorized cattle markets.

Awareness campaigns will also be launched to educate people about animal health and disease prevention. The Livestock Department will ensure the availability of necessary medicines, including anti-tick spray and antibiotics. Inter-provincial check posts will be established 10 days before Eidul Azha to prevent the spread of diseases. Special attention will be given to slaughterhouses and butcher shops to ensure that they are following proper hygiene and safety measures.

The administration had planned nine official cattle markets to be set up in Attock, including two in Attock city, one in Hazro, one in Hasan Abdal, two in Fateh Jang, one in Pindi Gheb, and two in Jund. However, due to the Congo virus outbreak, the markets have been closed, causing difficulties for traders and buyers.

The administration is working to resolve the issue and ensure that the markets are reopened with proper safety measures in place. However, any decision in this regard will be taken in consensus with the district administration, the livestock department and the health department.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2024.


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