LAHORE: The Punjab government is considering a proposal to allow online sale/purchase of sacrificial animals, impose ban on home slaughter, curtail gathering in major cattle markets and other measures to avert spread of coronavirus.

The government also plans to develop certain apps and websites of Lahore Division Cattle Market Management Company (LDCMMC) and other divisional companies in association with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), Dawn has learnt.”

In a recent meeting with the Lahore Commissioner, who heads the LDCMMC’s board of directors (BOD), various proposals were discussed. “The participants were of the view that sacrificial animal markets may emerge as Covid-19 hot spots causing spread of infection,” an official source told Dawn on Sunday.

Lahore hosts a major sale point in Shahpur Kanjran which attracts a large number of animal farmers and traders from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. This is also considered to be a major source of animal supply to Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Kabul (Afghanistan).

Slaughter at designated points

Besides this, Lahore also hosts other sale points of sacrificial animals at Saggian, LDA Avenue-1, Punjab Society (near Wapda Town), DHA/Cantt and Harbanspura where animal sales remain at peak till Eid. Cattle markets for sacrificial animals are also organised each year at Faisalabad, Gujaranwala, Rawalpindi, Multan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Bahawalpur, DG Khan and other cities under respective cattle market management companies and district administrations.

“As Covid-19 is spreading fast, we are considering a proposal to either not set up animal markets or at least work out a strategy to at least reduce gathering of people for sale/purchase purposes. It will only be possible when we encourage online sales of sacrificial animals,” the official.

“It is being planned to develop apps and websites through which traders can market their animals through photos and videos and make them available at various small designated spots/farms out or inside the city,” he added.

By doing so, according to him, public gatherings can be reduced at Shahpur and other sale points in Lahore and rest of the province.

He said another proposal to restrict sacrificial animals’ slaughter at homes by butchers is also under consideration. “The government is afraid that butchers, who generally don’t take care of their health, especially in context with Coronavirus due to lack of awareness, may become a source of infecting others.

“The government wants them (butchers) do this work at designated spots (parks, grounds) under Covid-19 SOPs and precautionary measures,” the official said. He said a final decision is expected before July 2.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2020