LAHORE: Cattle markets were full with buyers, till Friday morning, who had to offer the sacrifice at all costs. By the nightfall, the animal sellers also reduce the prices fearing expenses for taking their livestock out of the city. This year, livestock traders had been encouraged by a randomly changing tendency to import big animals like camels, bulls and cows in the city markets instead of goats or sheep. Keeping in view the crunch in the economy and volume of citizens with low income, the traders provided the buyers an opportunity to buy big animals for collective sacrifice.

In Lahore markets, the price of an average-weighted sheep/goat ranged from Rs30,000 to Rs60,000, while the price of cow/bull started from Rs60,000 and could reach up to Rs200,000 to 300,000. Similarly, a pair of camels was priced at Rs2,60,000 to Rs3,90,000. However, a trend of selling a purchasing camels and bulls emerged from last couple of years and, viewing the trend and interest of the people, most of the animal traders brought camels and bulls in the markets.

Vendors say the price hike is the result of the recent floods, rising inflation, increasing transportation charges and other associated expenses.

Justifying the high prices, the traders say the floods in different areas killed many animals this year; moreover a large number of animals were being smuggled to other countries. “Increase in prices of animal feed and other products is another reason for the price hike,” an animal trader in Shahdara told The Nation.

A buyer, Aftaab, said that he used to sacrifice a goat or sheep every year but this year it was beyond his capacity due to the high rates, adding that a middle class citizen was unable to afford buying such high-priced animals. A livestock trader, Ahmad of Kasur, said said an average weight cow or bull, which the vendors are selling for Rs60,000, cost the traders Rs45-55,000 including the feed, transportation, market entry fees and rent of market space.

Whereas a CDGL official claimed that the purchase and sale of sacrificial animals was exempted from all the taxes and transportation, entry and sale fee so that a maximum number of animal traders could be attracted to these sale points. On the other hand, a number of traders complained that the contractors and CDGL officials had been charging them forcibly. They have been also been warned by the officials to carry on sales outside the sale points approved by government.