The veterinary teams will examine all cattle before they enter the market
The government has taken an initiative to deploy a total of 1200 veterinary medical teams at cattle markets across the country to ensure healthy and disease-free sacrificial animals for the consumers during the upcoming Eid-ul Azha.
“A total of 1200 veterinary medical teams and extra mobile teams will be employed at all the cattle markets across the country as the team will carry out intensive monitoring to check access of any kind of sick animals to the cattle markets,” said Dr Abdul Zabbar Sikder, Director General of the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).
In Dhaka city, the Chief Veterinary Officer said approximately 26 veterinary medical teams had been engaged last year, but how many veterinary teams will work in the city this year is yet to be fixed as it is solely dependent on the number of cattle markets which is to be set up.
The veterinary teams will examine all cattle before they enter the market, he said, adding that “any cattle infected with zoonotic diseases caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacterial, parasites, and fungi, can be prevented.”
Sikder said cattle farms will also be inspected and after inspection, officials will provide health certificates.
The country is unlikely to face any shortage of sacrificial animals during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha as the supply of locally-reared cattle is quite enough to meet the current demand with over 11.9 million animals ready to be sacrificed.
According to the Department of Livestock, the country’s farmers have about 1 million more animals than the demand.
“The country has adequate supply of sacrificial animals this year. Now we are trying to shift our focus on online cattle markets because of coronavirus,” said the DLS chief.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is all set to introduce an online platform for cattle sale in light of the pandemic.
Using it, a potential buyer will be able to view animals on a website, place order and pay, all digitally, said DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam.
“We are going to negotiate with Nagad and some other digital transaction companies to facilitate online payment,” he said.
Around 3,000 cows will be displayed on the website, and members of the association will provide 2,500 cows.
“If we can sell 10 percent of the animals this year, we will consider it a success, as it is totally a new concept,” said the DNCC Mayor.
Customers, however, will have to pay service charge for home deliveries, he added.
However, cattle rearers and traders have voiced concerns over the price of sacrificial animals owing to the stalemate situation created by coronavirus.
According to the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association (BDFA), more than half of the cattle that get sold in the country throughout the year are actually sold during Eid-ul-Azha.
Shah Imran, general secretary of BDFA, said, “Many educated young people have set up cattle farms. Ordinary farmers have also increased rearing of cows and goats in the hope of good profits. But the problem is that the number of buyers and sellers in the cattle markets may decreases due to coronavirus pandemic.”
Shah Imran has also predicted that the number of animals to be sacrificed on the upcoming Eid will be 20% less than usual because of the health risks posed by coronavirus.
Along with the DNCC initiative, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has launched a ‘Digital Haat’ for online sale and purchase of sacrificial animals ahead of Eid-Ul-Azha.
“The initiative has been taken to save the cattle farmers and traders from financial loss amid the coronavirus pandemic and also to stop further transmission of the deadly virus in the country,” said State Minister of ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak last week.
He urged people interested in the buying and selling of sacrificial animals to register in the platform. The state minister also said that this is going to be the country’s biggest digital haat.
The government has also decided to transport sacrificial animals from the north and west of the country to Dhaka and Chittagong through the rail route.
The Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan made the announcement in Dhaka on Tuesday. He said that based on demand, the service could be launched any day.