Govt Urged To Regulate Prices Of Sacrificial Animals

Govt urged to regulate prices of sacrificial animals

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 9th Jun, 2024) Cleaning his perspiration with a white handkerchief in local cattle market in a hot sunny day, Qasier Khan (63), a former employee of Wapda was seen engaged in hectic arguments with cattle traders one after another hoping to buy a small sacrificial animal at reasonable price to commemorate the supreme sacrifices of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and Hazrat Ismail (AS).

Bargaining with local and inter-provincial cattle traders at Peshawar’s largest Lala Qala cattle market flooded with sacrificial animals Khan was seen using his argument skills besides making determined efforts to convince the cattle dealers after they declined his Rs75,000 offer for a Kohistani sheep.

"This morning, I came from Wapda Town with a hope to buy a goat or a sheep at a reasonable price ahead of Eidul Azha but its prices were sky high this year compared to last year, and I was now thinking of participating in ‘collective qurbani" with my neighbors.

The senior citizen was cleaning perspiration from his face and hands with his long white handkerchief on his head to avoid heatstroke. Qaiser said that he spent almost an entire day to buy a suitable sacrificial animal on reasonable prices at Peshawar and Nowshera cattle markets but in vain.

“Now, I will wait for an eve of Eidul Azha with the hope that prices of animals, especially small ones would become down and be able to purchase his choice animal to fulfill religious obligations,” he said.

Besides skyrocketing prices, he said poor sanitation and waste management besides unavailability of shelter shades and cold water have exposed hundreds of thousands of buyers and dealers to heatstroke in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Qasier Khan and other buyers demanded the KP government to regulate prices of sacrificial animals and ensure presence of price magistrates and livestock officials in cattle markets.

Like Qasier, many government officials and pensioners were being seen at cattle markets set up at Lala Kala, Ring Road, Hazar Khwani, Hayatabad and Charsadda Road in Peshawar, Amangarh, Akora Khattak, Risalpur and Pabbi Nowshera district where sacrificial animals have started pouring in Punjab and Sindh provinces on arrival of Eidul Azha.

A market survey conducted by APP revealed that these days the visitors, especially employees of public sector departments and private organizations besides general public and cattle dealers, were more in number than buyers as most of them came to the markets to have an idea about the prices and return empty handed.

However, the traders are expecting an increase in sale when Eidul  Azha approaches nearer and reiterated that all their stock would be sold out as per their price demand. 

"Since last Sunday, I have sold only 24 goats out of available 220 and two oxens out of 50 with me. The buyers, mostly the government employees, come to cattle markets in the evening to take an idea about the prices and then most of them return empty handed due to scorching heat and high prices," said Ibrahim Shah, an inter provincial cattle trader of Nowshera district while talking to APP.

Brought 40 trucks having each five buffaloes and oxen from Sahiwal Punjab to Nowshera and Peshawar, he said that only 25 animals were sold so far signifying high inflation and skyrocketing prices of animals this year,” he said, adding increase of transportation and fodder charges have increased prices of sacrificial animals manifolds.

Ibrahim said the dealers suffer great economic losses in case of death of an animal due to heatstroke or lumpy skin disease and demanded shelters and cold water besides fodder in cattle markets of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

In the wake of scorching heat, he said that small and large enterprises specialising in the sale of sacrificial animals and related services, have entered the digital market space as customers opt to minimise the risk of heatstroke by purchasing sacrificial animals online. He said online businesses have adversely affected sale and purchase of animals in cattle markets in KP.

Apart from domestic traders of KP and Punjab, inter-provincial businessmen of Sindh and Blochistan have also brought their stock to Peshawar from where sacrificial animals were being transported to the seven merged tribal districts for high profits.

Sohail Sardar, an inter provincial cattle dealer said that he had transported 25 trucks of cattle from Jacababad and my brother was sending five more trucks to Peshawar that would reach till Friday night.

“I refused an offer of Rs 200,000 for my ox ' Qalandar' last Sunday,” he said and added that any offer less than Rs. 350,000 would not be accepted.

The prices of large sacrificial animals including oxen, buffaloes, camels and cows were relatively reasonable compared to small animals such as goats and sheep in local markets. The prices of small animals including goat and sheep are very high because of recent torrential rains and flooding in April this year in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dr Aftab Ahmad, Director Livestock and Dairy Development KP said that hundreds of thousands of cattle are being sacrificed in KP on Eidul Azha. He said KP has no viable choice but to import cattle from Punjab to ensure availability of sacrificial animals at reasonable rates to the people, adding that around 70 percent cattle are being brought from Punjab for Eidul Azha.

According to estimates shared by Pakistani tanners, over six million animals, including goats, sheep, cows and camels, worth about Rs531 billion had been sacrificed during the three-day Eid Al-Adha festival last year.

The approximately 6.1 million slaughtered animals include 2.6 million cows, 3 million goats, 350,000 sheep, 150,000 buffalos and 87,000 camels in Pakistan on Eid Al-Adha, as per preliminary data compiled by the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) on the basis of hides received by tanneries last year.

Dr Aftab Ahmad said that several checkpoints were established with the assistance of the provincial government at various places on highways connecting KP with merged areas to control the menace of cattle smuggling.

Zahid Shinwari, former President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) claimed that transportation of sacrificial animals to Afghanistan is major reason behind the hike of sacrificial animals’ prices in KP that needed to be regulated.

He underscored the need for a tripartite-export agreement between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to help meet people's requirements of beef, milk and sacrificial animals.

In case of illness of any animal, he urged people to isolate it and inform Livestock officials forthwith for its treatment.  Dr Aftab said the DVM doctors were assigned task to visit cattle markets and ensure that animals with symptoms of lumpy skin disease may be isolated and treated on the spot.

APP/fam/taj (APP Feature Service)