50% fewer designated slaughtering areas in the city than last year
The streets of Dhaka run red with blood once a year, when more than 500,000 animals are slaughtered during the Eid-ul-Azha. Although the government designates specific areas for slaughtering, many people sacrifice cattle, goats and other animals on the streets outside their homes.
The slaughtering of animals on the streets causes significant environmental pollution and health risks. With the Covid-19 pandemic still running rampant across the globe, the need to slaughter animals in a hygienic and orderly manner during Eid is more important than ever before.
The Dhaka city corporations have only designated about half the usual number of slaughtering areas this year. This may lead to even fewer people using the areas as they are less likely to be in a location convenient for them.
The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have designated 331 temporary slaughter areas this time.
This year, the DSCC has designated 75 slaughtering areas, compared to 325 last year and 502 in 2018.
The DNCC has designated 256 this year, as opposed to 273 last year and 449 in 2018.
At a recent DSCC board meeting in Nagar Bhaban, a majority of the board did not wish to designate many slaughtering areas as most people did not use them.
“The DSCC has to spend money for the installation of temporary slaughterhouses. If people do not use them, there is no return on expenses,” said a board member who was present at the meeting.
Abu Naser, public relations officer of DSCC, said: “the DSCC had initially fixed 100 places, but finally it was brought down to 75 places in 75 wards.”
The DNCC set the number of slaughtering areas during a board meeting on Saturday. After the meeting, DNCC mayor Atiqul Islam said: “We have formed a 10-member committee with the councilors to monitor the slaughtering and waste management issues.”
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BaPA) Executive Vice President Dr MA Motin said: “Reducing the number of slaughtering places will increase environmental pollution and it will be harmful for public health.
“The government launched this slaughtering system in 2015, but the number of slaughtering places is gradually decreasing,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Why the disinterest in using designated areas?
According to the DSCC and DNCC, many people are reluctant to use designated slaughtering sites due to a lack of transport to bring meat back home. Some also believe that processing and portioning the meat as per Islamic rules is difficult at these slaughtering points.
Furthermore, many people said they were unwilling to use the slaughtering sites as butchers are not regularly available there.
Dr MA Motin said: “The city corporations should increase the number of slaughtering areas and ensure that necessary support is available. They need to conduct massive awareness campaigns as well.”
DNCC mayor Atiqul Islam said: “We always encourage the use of designated slaughtering areas, as it would help us clean up quickly. We have trained more than 100 imams and 200 butchers to strengthen the service.”
He also said, people who bring their animals to the DNCC Mohakhali slaughter house will receive a 25% discount on slaughtering services and transport facilities.
Set up of Digital Haat proving challenging
The DNCC and e-CAB have jointly organized Digital Haat for selling sacrificial animals this year, including slaughtering services in order to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
The services include slaughtering, meat processing, packaging, and delivery.
“The online slaughtering service has become somewhat more popular this year due to the novel coronavirus. Many building owners have already suspended slaughtering inside garages or basements,” said Jahangir Alam Shovan, general manager of e-CAB.
“Many people buy sacrificial animals from Digital Haat and seek slaughtering services as well. For people who order the slaughtering service, we will deliver the meat to their home instead of the cattle,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
According to e-CAB, people pay an additional charge for the slaughtering service and the owners of the cattle have the option of being present at the slaughtering house.
“The digital slaughtering service is proving very challenging for us. We have to start bringing discipline to the system,” said Atiqul islam, mayor of DNCC.
“We did not charge for water, electricity and space, to encourage people to use digital platforms,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Apart from Digital Haat, e-commerce marketplaces such as Ajkerdeal, daraz, deshigarubd, and garurhaat, are also providing slaughtering services to customers.
The Beribath area of Mohammadpur has the capacity to slaughter 1,000 animals on Eid day.