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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh likely to see 30-40% less sacrifice of animals this Eid-ul-Azha

Last year, people sacrificed over 10 million animals in the country

Update : 27 Jul 2020, 03:39 PM

Jamilur Rahman (not his real name), who works as an apparel merchandiser in Dhaka, feels sad and upset while answering his son’s question on whether his family will sacrifice an animal for this Eid-Ul-Azha or not.

His dismay comes with his inability to buy a sacrificial animal, as he recently lost his job from a foreign buying house due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Rahman is one among the tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and have become unable to meet basic living costs, making it quite impossible for them to buy a cow or goat for sacrifice.

On the other hand, a good number of Muslim devotees in the northern part of the country will not be able to sacrifice animals for Eid-ul-Azha due to the ongoing flood, which had heavily damaged their crops and earnings.

In addition, people are very scared about health safety due to the ongoing pandemic, while a good number of house owners are not allowing tenants to slaughter cows near their vicinity.     

In the given situation, the numbers of devotees looking to sacrifice animals for this year’s Eid-ul-Azha is likely to fall by 30% to 40% compared to the previous year, claimed people in the sector.

Last year, people sacrificed over 10 million animals in the country.  

“Everything was fine but the Covid-19 pandemic devastated it. In May, I lost my job and it is very tough to get another job as I held the top position in the company,” Jamilur Rahman (not real name) told Dhaka Tribune.

“So, you can understand whether it is possible for me or not to sacrifice an animal this year like I had been doing for the last couple of years,” he added.

On top of that, politicians and business people, who usually sacrifice three to five cows, are now going for a single cow as their business has also been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Last year, I sacrificed five cows. But this year, it is not possible as my business is going through a critical period,” a businessman, seeking anonymity, at Banani told the Dhaka Tribune.   

He plans to buy two cows this year. 

Similarly, many people who usually sacrificed a separate cow every Eid-ul-Azha, have turned to share a sacrificial animal with a fellow, colleague, or relatives.  

“Last year, both my brother and I sacrificed a cow each. But this year, we are planning to sacrifice a cow together by sharing,” Md Sohel Khondaker, who lives in Mirpur and runs a small business, told Dhaka Tribune.

“Our income has shrunk while our expenses, especially for healthcare, have increased and it is not possible for me to sacrifice a cow alone,'' he added.   

What farmers and tanners predict

The ongoing pandemic and the flood situation in several districts, especially in the north region of the country, indicate that a lower number of animals might be sacrificed for Eid-ul-Azha this year.  

“I reared four cows last year and sold those at good prices during last Eid-ul-Azha,” said Mahbubur Rahman, partner of Family Agro in Narsingdi.  

“This year, I have reared 10 cows but was only able to sell seven of them at lower prices than last year, while it is uncertain whether I would be able to sell the rest or not,” said Rahman.

He explained that the remaining cows at his farms are big and the price range is above Tk1 lakh, which is receiving less demand from buyers this year. 

“People are going for smaller ones for a low price,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Shah Emran, general secretary of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association (BDFA) told Dhaka Tribune: “With the existing trend in sales, we fear an about 20% to 30% fall in sales compared the previous year. This is because of the loss of earnings and health safety issues.”

“Out of 70 cows reared for this year, 30 cows have already been sold off and most of those are small as the demand for small ones are high,” said Emran, who is also the owner of Swapno Dairy.

Meanwhile, tanners also fear that the collection of rawhides will be low this year due to the decreasing number of sacrifices during the religious festival.

“This year, the collection of rawhides would be 30% to 40% less compared to the previous year as the country is witnessing flood in about 30 districts, while the Covid-19 pandemic is another issue, which cast a shadow on people income,” said Bangladesh Tanners’ Association (BTA) Chairman Shaheen Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune.

“During last year’s Eid-ul-Azha, people sacrificed over 10 million animals, which might come down 6 million this year,” the tanners’ platform predicted.

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