Exorbitant sacrificial animals’ prices keep buyers away

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LAHORE: Sales of sacrificial animals have not gained momentum in the provincial capital so far due to their exorbitant prices. A market survey conducted by Pakistan Today revealed that the prices of sacrificial animals had increased by 55 to 66 percent when compared with the previous year’s prices.
The survey, conducted at Johar Town and Bund Road animal markets, showed that the price of goats had witnessed the highest increase of around 60-66 percent, followed by the prices of bulls, cows and sheep. Animal vendors are asking Rs 28,000 to Rs 35,000 for an average-sized goat, which was available at Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 last year.
Similarly, the price of bulls and cows has risen by 55 to 60 percent, as vendors were asking Rs 45,000 to Rs 55,000 for a normal-sized bull, while the prices of bigger bulls were hovering around Rs 80,000 to Rs 95,000. Though sheep meat is not popular amongst Lahoris, the prices of sheep were also apparently out of people’s reach.
The survey showed that vendors were demanding Rs 20,000 to Rs 22,000 for an average-sized sheep. Sellers in makeshift sacrificial animal markets said farmers had to face huge losses as thousands of animals had been washed away in the heavy summer floods. A vendor in Johar Town, who was asking Rs 95,000 for a pair of goats, claimed that sacrificial animals were few in number this year.
He said not only flood, but transport fares had also augmented the prices. However, official figures of the Punjab government showed a different picture. Provincial Livestock Department data said only 4,809 animals were reported dead in flooding in seven districts of Punjab. Figures showed that 2,127 animals were wiped out in Muzafarghar, 977 in Mianwali, 725 in Rahim Yar Khan, 601 in Layyah, 207 in Rajanpur, 136 in Khushab, and 35 in Sargodha.
Analysis of relevant data revealed that animals affected most by the floods was cows, as 1,555 of them were reported dead, followed by 1,268 sheep, 1,246 goats, 695 buffalos and 45 other animals, including bulls, mules, donkeys and horses.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Punjab Additional Secretary for Livestock Khalid Awais Ranjha dispelled the impression that there was a shortage of sacrificial animals. He argued that deaths of only 4,809 animals could not dent the total livestock production in the province. Similar number of animals died every year of various diseases, so there was nothing unusual, he added.
He said the skyrocketing increase in prices was traders’ bid to earn overnight profits. Ranjha said five to 10 percent increase could be understandable because of the increase in prices of petroleum products. To a query, he said the prices of sacrificial animals would fall in a couple of days, as no vendor wanted to return home with his animals after spending a huge amount on fares and freight charges.