ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: A cattle market for the coming festival of sacrifice is to open tentatively on October 17 at the usual spot in Sector I-11/4 but the prices likely to reign there would test the spirit of sacrifice of the faithful to the extreme.

“Expect the price of a goat weighing 25kg to range between Rs25,000 and Rs28,000,” Khurshid Ahmed, president of the Jamiatul Quresh Meat Welfare Association, told Dawn, advising Eidul Azha buyers to “brace for high prices”.

“And the meat the animal would yield may weigh 13kg, or 14kg for a lucky buyer. That would roughly work out Rs1,200 per kg of clean meat - hoofs and head included,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.

That is twice the current price of Rs580 for a kilogramme of mutton in the market. Veal is cheaper at Rs300 and beef at Rs280 per kg.

Last year, the Eidul Azha price of a comparable goat was Rs18,000. While advising Eidul Azha buyers to “brace for the high prices of cattle this year for multiple reasons,” he conceded that opportunism was a factor in the hike.

Other reasons that he gave for high prices were “logistical costs, veterinary treatment of cattle, export of the country's livestock and costlier fodder this year”.

But he tried to keep the hopes of men of small means high by noting that the high prices of animals would prevail initially and would come down after the first day of the three-day festival of sacrifice.

Meanwhile, the Capital Development Authority has advertised the auction of the right to set up the temporary cattle market. CDA hopes the auction would fetch it more than Rs8 million against the Rs6.5 million that it got last year.

Around 100,000 animals are expected to be there when the market opens on October 17, or around, for 13 days - including the three days of Eidul Azha.

A CDA official declared to Dawn that nowhere else in the city the sale of sacrificial animals would be allowed.

“We will impose fine in case of violation of the ban,” he said. But the threat sounded weak when, in the next breath, he appealed to the citizens “to refrain from purchasing sacrificial animals from impromptu sale points” because they “block roads and disrupt traffic”.

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