The district livestock office estimates 655,414 animals will be sacrificed this Eid-ul-Azha
There will likely be no shortage of sacrificial animals in Chittagong during the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, livestock officials and traders say.
The district livestock office says there are 581,634 cattle currently available in the Chittagong market. The total estimated demand for sacrificial animals is 655,414.
Of the animals, around 450,000 are cows. About 400,000 cows have been fattened on Chittagong farms ahead of Eid, the livestock office said. The rest will come from other parts of the country.
Last year, around 600,000 cattle and 410,000 cows were sacrificed in the Chittagong district.
Chittagong district livestock officer Dr Md Reajul Huq said the demand for sacrificial animals could easily be met locally due to an adequate supply from domestic sources.
"Many people are now rearing cows due to a high demand in the market. Many marginal farmers have become self-reliant by rearing cows," he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Oli Ullah, president of the Chittagong Cattle Cooperative Association Ltd, said there will not be any shortage of supply.
“The sacrificial animals will begin to come to Chittagong in the next few days. There is huge demand for local cows in Chittagong. The cattle reared on different farms will fulfil 30% of the demand, while the rest will be provided by cattle from other districts, such as Bogra, Kushtia, Jessore, Faridpur, and Chapainawabganj,” he said.
According to the district livestock office, there are more than 300 regular cattle farms in Chittagong. Additionally, there are many farms where individual farmers raise cattle particularly for Eid-ul-Azha, one of the two biggest festivals for Muslims.
82 medical teams to be deployed at cattle markets
A total of 82 veterinary medical teams are going to be deployed to the cattle markets of Chittagong to examine the health of the sacrificial animals.
Headed by a veterinary surgeon, each medical team – comprising three to five members – will remain deployed at 197 cattle markets of the district, including 40 permanent ones.
Rejaul Huq told the Dhaka Tribune that the medical teams will identify unhealthy cattle unfit for sacrifice, detect artificially-fattened cattle via the symptom-based detection method, and provide emergency treatment.
“There will be more than one medical team per permanent cattle market. Also, a mobile veterinary clinic will provide services,” he said.
“There are some tell-tale signs in steroid-fattened cattle. Healthy cattle will look vigorous, while an artificially-fattened cow will move slowly and look lethargic, aside from exhibiting symptoms of respiratory problems,” Rejaul said, adding that some unscrupulous cattle traders resort to using steroids to earn profits.
The use of hormones and steroids to fatten cattle is banned according to the Animal Disease Control Act, 2010. The Act prescribes a minimum of two-year imprisonment, a Tk50,000 fine, or both, for the offence.
Prof Dr Gouranga Chandra Chanda of the Department of Dairy and Poultry Science, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, said: “The steroid-induced cattle appear big, but are weak because water is retained under their skin. Steroid-fattened cows cannot move normally and do not eat properly.”
“The use of steroids creates unusual pressure on the kidneys and other organs. The drug affects the normal circulation of urine and within a few days the cow looks fat because it retains water in its body,” said Prof Gouranga.
“Lack of awareness, easy availability of steroid-based drugs and malpractice by quacks and cattle traders are the prime reasons for steroid abuse. The government should ensure that no-one can buy these drugs without prescriptions from an authorized veterinarian,” he added.
Chittagong Civil Surgeon Dr Azizur Rahman Siddiqui told the Dhaka Tribune that the consumption of artificially-fattened beef poses a serious health hazard.
“Kidney, intestine, liver, heart and reproductive organs in the human body might be damaged by the consumption of fattened cattle,” he warned.