Recent floods in Pakistan have swept away thousands of animals in the cattle-producing provinces of Punjab and Sindh, driving up the prices of livestock.
This comes during a surge of demand for the sacrificial animals, as the majority-Muslim country prepares to celebrate Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”.
Analysts say due to the destroyed infrastructure in the cattle-producing regions, even the surviving livestock cannot be brought out.
Customers in makeshift markets in Lahore say the prices have gone up by almost 30 to 50 percent compared to the last two years.
“There are very few goats around, and their prices are very high. Perhaps goats are scarce because of the floods. The prices of goats are very, very high, way above our reach,” said Lahore businessman Mohammad Naseem.
“It is very difficult to buy any of these animals , especially for the salaried classes. They are asking for Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 90,000 ($ 779 to $ 876) for a goat with barely 20 kg of meat in it,” said Salah Uddin , a government servant.
Livestock owners, on the other hand, insist that they are struggling to keep prices down.
“You know that there were floods in the country. There is inflation all around us. Some of us have four (goats), some have five. We have to make a decent earning,” said goat owner Allah Baksh.
“The strong animals are able to stand the heat, but the weaker animals are naturally not able to bear it. People here are in great distress because of the heat and thirst, but animals are naturally worse off,” added cattle trader, Mohammad Shoaib.
The oppressive summer heat is also adding to the woes of cattle traders who say many of their animals, especially the smaller ones, are dying of thirst because drinking water is not available in the open air markets.
Pakistan is celebrating Eid al-Adha on Monday (October 6) this year.
Eid al-Adha, which falls on the 10th day of the 12th month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar, is the second of two religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year.