Pakistan: Prices of sacrificial animals rocket

A decorated goat at a market before Eid in 2011

Floods wiped out so much of Pakistan's livestock that families are struggling to afford animals to sacrifice, reports suggest.

Prices have rocketed by 30-50% ahead of the Eid festival, when Muslims sacrifice an animal to distribute meat to family, friends and the poor, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan. It quotes traders in Lahore's major Bakra Mandi as saying goats are going for a princely 30,000 rupees ($283; £174) and a cow for about twice that. Downhearted shoppers are worried that relatively few will be able to afford the sacrifice this year.

The floods affected more than a million people, notably in Punjab and Sindh provinces, where tens of thousands of families were forced out of their homes. Those areas are also major hubs for cattle production. And the destruction has resulted in a booming black market, according to Pakistan Today. Reports suggest that middlemen are deliberately holding onto livestock in order to drive prices up. Some they say are even selling animals to neighbouring Afghanistan. One way people are coping is through "collective sacrifices", whereby several people chip in to buy one animal that they offer up together, it seems.

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