Like elsewhere in the world Eidul Azha is celebrated with great religious zeal and fervour across Pakistan. The faithful to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son Ismael sacrifice animals proscribed according to Holy Quran and Sunnah. But unlike many countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Muscat, Qatar, Malaysia and those living in the west Pakistan has not been able to evolve the way sacrificial animals are sacrificed. The result being that the ages old practice of butchers, who are always in a hurry to get more customers and rarely complete the job.

In other countries the slaughtering procedure is done in a well-maintained and hygienic environment, where all they need to do is to take their animals (sometimes even that is taken care of) to the slaughter house and get them cut in a clean, healthier way. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, such a concept is unfamiliar to the people.

The Abattoirs in foreign countries handle everything—from getting the animals, sacrificing them, bagging the meat to sending it to its required location. Muslims who want to sacrifice an animal go to the Abattoir choose their animal and have it booked for sacrifice on the day of Eid. The Abattoir handles everything and simply gives you a time to come collect the meat. You are of course, given the option to donate it all to charity.

Something a lot of Muslims prefer to do. In that case, the abattoirs handle the logistics themselves. The scribe has lived in Cape Town for many years. The city is house to many great mosques that have capacity of 50,000 to 60, 000. Almost everyone in the Muslim community sacrifices on Eidul Azha. They select the animal at the slaughter house, pay for it and the animal is tagged. On the Eid day you can collect the meat from the slaughter house. Our family always sacrificed cows at the Groenland Abattoir in Overberg district of Western Cape.

In Pakistan, however, the practice is centuries old and the method has deteriorated over the years. Prince of the day is the butcher, whom everyone tries to get an appointment for sacrificing the animal days ahead of the religious festival. Butchers most of the time do overbooking and hence are in rush to complete the job. Then the issue of cleanliness is a major concern. If areas are designated in each locality where the animals can be kept and later sacrificed it would help a lot in keeping the environment clean.

Due to unavailability of free areas or grounds where animals can be kept secured from theft people keep them in their homes or outside their streets.

Talking to The Nation Naseemur Rehman, Director Environment Protection Department, was of the view that Pakistan was not a developed country and our culture is quite different.

“We cannot make slaughter houses and adopt the culture and trends in other countries but we are trying our level best to improve many things with the passage of time. We now have business concerns like Zenith, Meat 1 and Green Valley where the meat is processed in modern way. Different Eid packages are offered to the people in Pakistan and online Qurbani services have come up. We are working on different projects. We have improved a lot in the last four or five years,’’ the director said.

Prof Dr Tanveer Zubairi said that one of the major reasons that we could not adopt modern procedures was huge population. “Some 30 years ago in Saudi Arabia people were told to go to specific spots, buy the animals and then sacrifice them there. One million Hajis sacrifice on Eid day there. They have made it more scientific and modern. But they can do so with the huge resources at their disposal.

“In Pakistan too we can bring in positive changes. After Ijjtehad (consensus) we can build more slaughter houses. The intestines of animals are raw material for many industries. For example catgut (thread) that we use for sewing up the body after any operation is made from the material of these intestines. The local government can outsources procurement of these intestines to bulk buyers so that they can collect them from the streets in time so that the stench does not spread,” Dr Zubairi explained.

He was of the view that the meat should not be refrigerated but deep freeze. “It should be refrigerated for a very short time. Also I would like to suggest that people should eat cook the meat four to six hours the sacrifice. There are chemical processes going no in the body. Therefore, we must let it cool first before cooking and eating it,” Dr Zubairi adviced. Eidul Azha is celebrated for three days and people look forward to it all year. We should celebrate it with zeal and its true spirit.