LAHORE: The Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD) is holding a horse and cattle show notwithstanding the alarming situation of Covid in the province, where 9.73 per cent positivity rate for the pandemic has been reported on Sunday.

The horse and cattle show had been a regular annual event of the department since decades. Many a time, however, it was deferred for various reasons.

Last year, it had been cancelled days before the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic though those interested in taking part in the buffalo milking contest had reached the venue. They usually report at the venue a week before the actual show to acclimatise their animals with the new setting.

When the lethal third wave is forcing closure of educational institutions and businesses and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has also banned inter-province transport on week days, the L&DD is all set to organise an event assembling people from across the province for four days – April 10 to 12 – at Bahadur Nagar in Okara, which is over 128km from the Punjab capital.

An organiser of the show tells Dawn that they were not prepared to hold the event expecting that the authorities concerned won’t ask for it keeping in view the alarming hike in coronavirus cases.

But, the authorities in Lahore insisted on holding it ignoring the suggestion of postponing it until October, he says, requesting not to be named.

He says there was pressure from the breeders looking out for the best new breed to emerge during the contest at the show.

The only safety measure being taken against the spread of coronavirus is that it is being held in a district not on the list of Covid-19 hotspots. Though there will be no bar on the participants wishing to come from the districts where the pandemic is raging.

A notification issued by the director general (production) on March 25 says L&DD Minister Sardar Hussnain Bahadur Drehshak is patron-in-chief, Secretary retired Captain Saqib Zafar and South Punjab Secretary Mian Aftab Ahmed Peerzada chief organisers and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Vice-Chancellor Dr Naseem Ahmad chief coordinator of the national horse and cattle show, 2021.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2021

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