HYDERABAD: The prices of sacrificial sheep and rams have gone up by up to 25 per cent over last year due to an increase in transportation costs, high mortality rates and the impact of implementation of GST. They said that there was a shortage of sheep in the state, that could have been caused by the state government programme to provide sheep to certain communities. Live sheep weighing around 20 kg each are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 350 per kg in the general market. A few entrepreneurs sell them for between Rs 220 and Rs 250 per kg.
Maulana Mohammed Rizwan Qureshi, the Khateeb of Macca Masjid, said, “A sacrificial sheep, ram or goat has to be above the age of one year, a sacrificial cow, bull, ox or buffalo has to be above the age of two years, and a sacrificial camel has to be above the age of five years. The animal should be free from obvious defects.” According to sheep farmers, around eight lakh sheep are sold in the state every year during Bakrid. Traders bring in the animals from AP, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and some north Indian states.
Mr Mohammed Riyaz, chairman of Mahboobia Agro Farms in Toopran, said, “Generally, a one-year-old sheep weighs around 20 kg. People buy sheep weighing up to 60 kg for sacrifice during Bakrid.” He said sheep farmers had sustained losses due to the high mortality of sheep caused by diseases such as blue tongue and ecthyma. Dr M.S. Rahman, assistant director of the department of animal husbandry, said blue tongue and ecthyma were viral diseases. “Affected animals cannot eat or chew anything due to the formation of ulcers on their tongues. If they are not given treatment in time, they die,” he says. He said these diseases are not transmitted to humans. Last year, sheep weighing 20 kg were sold for Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 each. This year, the prices may increase by Rs 2,000.
Traders blame losses on Animal Act, cow vigilantes:
Cattle traders are trying to make up for the losses incurred by them due to strict implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and attacks by cow vigilantes. A single share of a bull or an ox is priced between Rs 3,200 and Rs 3,400 against Rs 2,500 and Rs 2,700 last year. Seven persons collectively purchase an animal for sacrifice. Mr Hashim Qureshi, vice-president of the Jamiat-ul-Quresh of Secunderabad, said several traders had been losing business over the past two years due to “unnecessary harassment” during the transportation of animals. “Our animals are being seized and shifted to private gaushalas. We have to pay Rs 250 per animal per day for the duration of their stay at the gaushalas. We cannot bear the losses and hence the prices have been hiked,” he said.
In Greater Hyderabad, there is a demand for the sacrifice of one lakh cattle; in slum areas, the demand is higher as the population is primarily made up of working-class families. Mr Qureshi said there were guidelines and standards governing the health of sacrificial animals....