More than six
million sacrificial animals are expected to be slaughtered in Makkah
and other parts of the Kingdom during this Haj and Eid Al-Adha season.
The figure includes about 1.4 million heads of sheep to be sacrificed
by pilgrims in the holy sites.
Prices of cattle
shot up during the season, by up to 70 percent. The price of Naeemi
sheep went up from SR550 to SR950 per head. “Cattle prices escalate
during the season due to dearth in supply,” said Ahmad Al-Khalaf, a
major cattle trader. Speaking to Arab News, Khalaf said he had visited
a number of countries including Pakistan and Latin American states
seeking to procure healthy cattle to meet the high demand during the
There has been a
substantial shortage in supply following a ban on cattle imports from
some African and European countries following the mad cow scare and an
outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in southern Saudi Arabia.
Khalaf warned that
unrestricted slaughter of Naeemi sheep would lead to extinction of the
species in the near future. He called on the Ministry of Agriculture
and Water to ban the slaughter of Naeemi, one of the best varieties of
sheep that can resist diseases.
population in the Kingdom was estimated at 17.9 million heads in 1997.
It included 10.6 million sheep, 6.2 million goats and 785,000 camels.
Saudi Arabia imported more than four million heads of livestock in the
first half of last year.
Khalaf called for
setting up of a committee to monitor local market to ensure that the
animals sold conformed to Shariah requirements. He accused some cattle
farmers of selling sheep aged below six months. Muhammad ibn Saleh
Al-Harbi, an investor in the sector, fears that prices might fall
drastically due to over-supply by Bedouin farmers.
There is no exact
figure on how many animals would be slaughtered in Riyadh annually.
However, it is estimated that 1.1 million heads would be sacrificed in
the region. Market sources said about 80 percent of slaughter in the
capital would take place outside official abattoirs.
circles say that most animals are slaughtered in large kitchens of the
city. This has affected the business of official slaughterhouses in
Azizia, Haer, Naseem and Badeea districts that charge SR10 to SR15 per
animal. The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s agriculture
committee has warned that the slaughter of animals outside official
slaughterhouses could lead to spread of