ANIMAL sacrifice is one of the defining characteristics of Eidul Azha. However, extra care needs to be taken both by the citizenry and the state to ensure that the sacrifice is a safe and hygienic affair. Where the removal of offal and animal waste is concerned, the situation has improved considerably from what it was in the past; over a decade or so ago, waste used to lie unattended on garbage heaps, creating a foul atmosphere. To their credit, over the last few years civic agencies across Pakistan have made efforts to highlight hygiene in the run-up to Eid through the media, while during the three days of the festival offal is picked up fairly quickly. Public awareness has also increased. Yet loopholes remain. While civic agencies must continue their efforts, it is essential that citizens carry out the sacrifice in a disciplined manner as well. Collecting animal waste from every house is impractical, hence people need to dispose of offal in designated collection areas and not just leave it on the street. Rotting animal waste in the open is not only an obvious health hazard, it also attracts the attention of animals and birds.
The presence of birds hovering over offal is a matter of particular concern in neighbourhoods located close to airports, hence civic bodies must be particularly vigilant in these areas to prevent bird strike. Perhaps ideally it would be best if Pakistanis adapted their lifestyles so that sacrifices could be carried out in abattoirs, ensuring the religious obligation is fulfilled while maintaining health and safety standards. Until more such facilities are built and until people change their habits, citizens need to avoid sacrificing in the open and dumping waste wherever they feel like. After all, while the sacrifice is an integral part of Eidul Azha, maintaining cleanliness is also a religious duty.