LAHORE – The unabated and unwise export of premature she-goats’ meat to Middle East market has been posing a potential threat to local livestock sector and is likely to hike meat prices in domestic market in near future, it was learnt on Sunday.

The new trend of minting money by slaughtering she-goats before attaining maturity or end of her re-productivity and exporting this highly tender meat to Middle Eastern countries has alarmed in livestock sector as well as the leather industry. Experts said that fresh goat meat is fast being exported from Pakistan and becoming very popular in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries due to its tenderness and odorless nature.

“The demand of goat meat from these countries is mostly of smaller animal with carcass weight between 6-8kg as against average carcass weight of 11-12 kg sold in domestic market,” they said. Due to high export demand of smaller size the slaughter houses are slaughtering animals of young age and mostly she goats even before first pregnancy, they said.

They appealed to the Punjab Livestock Department for early action to control damage to goat population, which is 7 per cent of the global population.

As compared to meat of sheep or the younger animal it is tenderer and tastier, observed leather industry expert and PTA central chairman Agha Saiddain suggested the government to discourage export of smaller goats especially female goats, taking appropriate measures to address the issue.

“Export of young goats is resulting in national loss as well as damaging the most important sector of Pakistan’s agro economy.

It is going to have very serious repercussions in the long-run and there will be acute shortage of goats in the country.”

“The skins of these smaller animals are also of no use and carry very little value. The bigger and healthier animal would fetch a high price per goat as well as its byproducts such as skin, casings and other things.”

He suggested that the carcass of goat weighing average 12kg may be allowed for exports. The customs office at airport may make sure that only male carcasses are exported.

Smuggling and export of live animals under the shelter of quota system and export of wet blue leather were also hampering the leather sector, he said.

Elaborating the leather industry, Agha stated that countries like Italy and Vietnam with very little livestock population have 13 per cent and 6.22 per cent of global leather market share respectively and Pakistan with total livestock of 160 million has only 0.76 per cent share of global market.

He said that Pakistan is at number two position after Italy as far as quality of leather is concerned and total export performance of leather was $1.22 billion during 2007-08 and the sector could have reached to the level of $1.78 billion during 2011-12 against actual exports of $1.04 billion, 70.61 per cent less than achievable level of $1.78 billion.