Visakhapatnam: As Dasara festival approaches, not only common people but also motor vehicle owners, small scale industries and traders have started buying sheep for sacrificial ritual of Goddess Durga.
The traders depend on neighbouring states to procure the animals to meet the demand. Banning of some weekly shandies (Santas) in places where cattle, sheep, goats and domestically produced chicken meat are usually brought for trade is also a reason to rely on other states. The government has banned shandies in some districts as lumpy skin affects cattle and not sheep or goats. Due to this, the traders have to depend on the sources of sheep. Due to this, the prices of sheep have increased.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Nellore district animal husbandry department joint director Maheswarudu agreed, "Yes, weekly shandies have been banned in some districts, including Nellore, due to lumpy skin disease scare. However, there is no threat to sheep and goats. People need not worry about it."
AP State Sheep and Goat Breeders' Welfare Association President Ganta Sriram said that the demand for sheep has increased due to Dasara and ban on weekly shandies of animal trading. The price of each sheep ranges from Rs.10000 to Rs.30000 against Rs. 8000 to Rs. 10000 on normal days.
“About 50 percent of the sheep are brought from the border states of Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu to meet the demand for sheep in AP during Dasara. People give priority to sheep over goats for offerings,” Sriram said.
There are about 3 lakh motor vehicles like lorries, trucks and minivans in the state, said YV Eswara Rao, general secretary of AP Lorry Owners Association. On the occasion of Dasara and Sankranti, it is customary for the families of some motor vehicle owners and others to sacrifice animals as part of the rituals, he added.
On the other hand, Visakhapatnam-based Broiler Chicken Traders Association President T. Adinarayana said that the demand for Country made chicken (Natukodi) is usually high during the Dasara festival. Broiler chicken is taken for offerings as many people do not buy the `Natukodi’ due to high prices.