Monday, January 01, 2007

The Cost Of Animal Sacrifice

Our New Years Celebrations this year will be shared by Muslims celebrating Eid. It seems however that there is one problem....not enough animals to sacrifice. Shhhh don't tell PETA.

Perhaps the solution to the high cost of sacrifice is to start to do it virtually, like they do with biology experiments in high schools now. No actual animals were harmed as part of the virtual experiment.

Pakistan Prepares for 'Big Eid'
High price of animals will prevent many from making sacrifices this year

In these days all Pakistani people are busy in arranging things to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha also called "Big Eid," but the high cost of animals in the market are going to make problems.

I remember well Eid-ul-Azha some 10 years back when sacrificial animals were available at cheap rates. In those days everybody seemed to have the potential to sacrifice. But now it's very difficult for a middle class person to perform this religious obligation due to the high prices of animals.

Children used to wait months to touch and look after an animal. The animals were given names, decorated with garlands and colors, and even "marry Eid" was written in color on the animals' body and emotional outbursts were seen on the day of their sacrifice. Those days are no more here in this mechanical life when feeding and taking care was part of the celebrations. People used to take care of the animal throughout the year and on this day sacrifice it. But today animal food is not affordable, so this trend is now limited only to villages. A report by Daily Times shows that an animal eats more food in its life than its own original value.

Many people, who had been slaughtering goats for years regularly on the occasion, will not be able to perform their religious obligation this time.

"The prices of animals are not affordable this year," people complained.

On Eid day people get up early in the morning, take a bath, dress well, eat some special sweet dish, and reach any open place for Eid prayer. This may be a school ground, stadium, or special site for Eid. People say prayers together standing in rows. They hug with their dear ones and come back home to slaughter animals. Usually for this purpose professional butchers are hired.

Animals can be sacrificed on any of the three days. Families cook meat and eat it sitting together. Meat is also distributed to relatives and the poor. Animal skin is donated to deserving people, NGOs, welfare organizations, hospitals, orphanages, and especially to religious parties.

In Pakistan more than 20 million animals are usually slaughtered on this day. More than three quarters of the skins go to religious parties that maintain their annual budget with the sale of donated skins. This not only brings revolution of meat but also speeds up the leather industry.

This practice of sacrificing animals, apart from its religious point of view, is a great social system that provides an opportunity to the deprived sections to enjoy meat for at least a couple of weeks. Some poor people dry meat in sunlight for later usage. Meat is sent to the deprived and poor in different parts of the country, like the earthquake victims in Kashmir, and the Afghan refugee camps in Balochistan. It is also supplied to Somalia, Indonesia, and some African states.

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