LAHORE - It is getting really hard to afford buying sacrificial animals as the flooding, inflation, delayed sale points installation and arrival of fewer animals in the city has swelled the prices, a survey conducted by TheNation of some sale points revealed on Saturday.

In the absence of effective price control mechanism, citizens are forced to buy animals on the rates fixed by the animal traders, which could result in the decline of the trend of purchasing pricey animals, even though Islam speaks for a simple and modest living.

Unaffordable prices are not only spoiling the animal business but also have worried the citizens in performing religious rites.

On the first day of newly-set up sale points, it was witnessed that most of the buyers were returning home without any purchase, while some buyers seemed reluctant even to bargain over the high prices. Imadad Ali, an animal trader, said that once the livestock business was in full swing, people used to come with their families to purchase animals “but now the trend to buy sacrificial animals is fading away with the passage of time.” He added, “Vendors have to bear huge losses as the floods swept away thousands of livestock while many of them are still facing problems in reaching the sale points due to damaged roads and unavailability of transport. It will certainly shorten the numbers of sacrificial animals in the markets this year that will inflate prices.”

“Uncontrolled price hike in the country sans effective mechanism, increasing rates of animal feed and poor purchasing power could cause massive increase in rates as well, another animal vendor Muhammad Hussain said. Fayyaz Ahmad, a trader, said the prices have increased from nearly 30 to 40 per cent as compared to last three years due to increasing rates of animal feed and other essentials which not only increased the overall cost but also damaged the livestock production. Initially, traders are demanding Rs18000 to Rs20000 for goats and sheep (which in previous years were available at around Rs15,000-17,000) and Rs40,000 to Rs500,000 for cows and bulls depending upon the health, weight and breed.

Whereas, the traders are of the view that rates of the sacrificial animals would further increase with each passing day due to the expenses for keeping them in the City till Eid. But at the same time they are hopeful to earn reasonable profit because most buyers prefer buying sacrificial animals just a few days ahead of Eid.

Muhammad Ahmad of Kasur said the residents of big cities can easily afford to purchase high-priced animals, which attracts the vendors. This is why they prefer approaching the big cities.”

However, a large number of animals are being brought to the sale points of the City and traders are setting up their camps at the designated six sale points: Bakar Mandi Shahpur Kanjra in Allama Iqbal Town; China Scheme in Shalimar Town; Bismillah Housing Scheme in Wahga Town; Kahna Kacha Mandi Ferozpur Road in Nishtar Town; Bankers Society near Kamahan in Gulberg Town; Saggian Bridge in Data Ganj Bukhsh Town; and Bilawal Town near Sagian Bridge for Ravi Town.

Some of the animal traders are also trying to set up their own sale points in residential and commercial localities of the City while the District Administration has ordered the officials to take strict action against the vendors in case of any violation.