The flesh does not reach Allah, nor does their blood, but the piety from you reaches Him (Al-Haj-V-37).
Eid-ul- Azha is here, the sacrificial animals poured into the valley from across areas. Tenth of Zilhija, the last month of Muslim calendar, marks the celebration of Eid-ul-Azha or Eid-e-Qurban.
It is a celebration following the spending of night in planes of Arafat Valley during Hajj.
On the festival of Eid-ul-Azha, that marks the end of the sacred Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims around the world follow the footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH) by sacrificing an animal (or paying to have one sacrificed on their behalf) and distributing the meat to the poor and needy.
Muslims slaughter sacrificial animals as a form of obedience to Allah, that also serves the end of social responsibility to the community.
The Qurbani animals can be slaughtered from the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah until sunset on the 12th day. According to certain sources, the act of Qurbani is best performed directly after Eid prayers are over. The different species of animals permissible by Islamic shariah for sacrifice include sheep, goat, cow, bulls and camel.
However, the female animal must neither be pregnant nor in a stage of lactation. Each sacrificial animal makes a certain number of shares. Sheep or goat carry one share while bovine or camel carry seven shares each. One of the most important conditions in carrying out sacrifice is to provide legitimate sacrificial animals based on Islamic shariah with good quality animals.
For the information of general public an attempt is being made to summarise the tips in choosing quality animals in accordance with Islamic law. First aspect in choosing good sacrificial animals is the age of sacrificial animals.
Legally, the sacrificial animals such as goat and sheep must at least be a year old, while cows and buffaloes must be two years old. The way to find out is looking at dentition or at animal teeth. The approved animal is marked by a change of teeth that is if the two front teeth fell out.
The second aspect that a sacrificial animal must be watched and examined for is the the body shape. The animal should not be deformed. Animals to be sacrificed must be checked for body length, height, harmony, and defect. The animal should be in normal condition.
In addition, the sacrificial animal’s backbone should be flat or straight, the horns are balanced, and the legs are symmetrical. The animal must be apparently free from any injury, cuts, bruises or broken horns.
Other characteristic, the animal’s posture has ideal combination of stomach, front and back legs, head and neck. Health of the animal is of paramount importance and animal must be seen if it is healthy.
The characteristics of physically healthy animals are active and reactive animals when approached or touched. Healthy animals will be agile, strong, vibrant, free from limping or any symptom of lameness. It should not be agitated and must exhibit good appetite.
Such healthy animals must have a pleasant body luster with fine shiny hair coat and on touching or patting the animals must not show alopecia or hair fall which is indicative of being diseased. The hair of the sacrificial animals must not stand erect or change color.
The animal skin is also free from skin parasites such as mites, ticks, fleas, and so on. Beware, if the animal’s skin looks dull and the body is thin, it means that the animal has worms.
The disease that often occurs in sacrificial animals is fatigue that can occur due to the distribution process. During my clinical practice I have come across quite significant number of sacrificial animals suffering from diarrhea and three-day fever or bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF). They must also be free of scabies.
One more important aspect to be observed is the percentage of carcass weight. Carcass is parts of livestock after being slaughtered that consist of meat and bones, without head, feet, skin and innards. Carcass is calculated based on the weight of the animal while still alive. The percentage of carcass weight is breed specific.
Broadly speaking the breed of sheep locally called as “Deliwal” has highest carcass yield 70 to 75% compared to other breeds like Bakerwali, Gaddi, merino and many other breeds, where it is 50 to 60 percent. The very important issue that needs a prior attention is the scientific disposal of the waste and offals including stomach, intestines, gastro intestinal content, hooves, skins and hides, horns and massive bones after the sacrifice of the animals.
A fervent appeal must be made to the masses regarding avoiding wayward disposal of the sacrificial waste in utter disregard to the spirit and sanctity of ‘Qurbani’ offered on this auspicious occasion. The people in general must not scatter offal and hides of sacrificial animals on roadsides, or in water bodies.
This will not only prevent environment from being polluted but also would prevent spread of diseases during these hot summer days. It will also prevent the nuisance of stray dogs. Therefore best method of disposal is deep burial at safer places.
Despite being a religious obligations for the Muslims, it runs the web of economy - sale and purchase of animals, their transportation, their feed and fodder supply, butchery and slaughtering, caring and rearing. It is a full package.
But there is a lot of scope as for as efficient managerial system of this mobile economy is concerned. If those dealing in the trade follow integrity, rules, norms and SoPs, the buyers and sellers shall follow, in future, the same seller or livestock owner.
As for the extension models for sale and purchase of such animals is concerned, there are really a few models working for supplying such animals. The biggest one being the bakerwals on migrations from planes to alpines station.
Their livestock in make shift temporary mandis at various locations of the city on roadsides, free land, the Eid gah in Srinagar, as favourite destinations for such bakerwals who sell their animals without any weight or measure and fix the cost per animal or per pair of animals. The second model is the dealers who have sale animals from outside the state and supply the same to the butchers of the valley.
They also get the animals as truck loads and drop them in open spaces and roads and sell them at exorbitant prices. There is a class of people who procure animals from villages from the month of Ramadan, some three months before the Qurbani Eid, fatten them to earn remunerations. Statistically such model is not fetching good profit as per investment.
This model is profitable for only those people who have already pre existing infra structure for housing and feeding etc. Some zealous persons and households rear the animals for whole year or some professionals purchase small rams at low cost and fatten them year round and sell at the time of qurbani. Economic analysis also reveals only little profit.
The main reason being that there is lack of scientific knowledge with regard to fattening of the animals, because fattening experts are lacking in our system that would ensure quality of mutton beside increasing the body weight of the animal. It can be taken on business lines and if started quite earlier, and increase the number of such working models in the market. There is a need and scope for starting goat farming.
Recently Directorate of Extension, SKUAST, Kashmir, and Sheep Husbandry Department has come up with a model wherein sheep farmers have been roped in.
A person who wants an animal, pays Rs. 25000 to the farmer in lump sum, for which farmer will deliver one sheep each weighing 30 kgs on hoof weight basis one day prior to Eid or on the day of Eid itself every year up to 4 years.
Should a person require a sheep more than 30 kgs, can be provided subject to the conditions the weight over and above 30 kgs the buyer shall be bearing as per the rate in vogue during that period. In return the sheep farmer gets money in lump sum and invests in sheep farm so that he gets material at cheapest rate possible, and improves his economy and trade.
This scheme got launched in the month of Ramadhan with thirty investors in first go. In the days to come the scheme will again get momentum for uplift of the financial status of the sheep farming community.
Prof.(Dr) Dil Mohammad Makhdoomi, Director Extension, Director Sameti, SKUAST Kashmir.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.