(MENAFN - Arab News) As soon as prayers of Eid Al-Adha were over yesterday, people rushed toward the animal sacrifice ritual, the prime obligation of this Eid. Roads leading from the city into East Jeddah's old cattle market are jammed with mammoth vehicular traffic.
It is ironic that prices of sheep remained stable and lower compared with previous Eid Al-Adha holidays, though there was marginal hike. There was a minor increase during peak demand season, but overall prices remain fairly stable amid of hike in most of commodities.
King Abdullah had ordered a subsidy of 50 percent for fodder that prevented the price hike and also helped livestock traders and farmers.
Many Sudanese traders, who dominate the cattle market, felt nervous on Eid at market as price dropped compared with last year. The price of sheep is much lower in Kingdom compared with other gulf countries. Size of weight also determine the price of animal.
The old cattle market in East Jeddah at end of Palestine Street was busy and hectic throughout morning yesterday with buyers and sellers. Residents were visiting different parked trucks that hold livestock to select their choice of animal and picked up, tightened with ropes and parked in rear of vehicles before being transported home.
Butchers were also standing along on the way to offer their services for price of SR 100. In other parts of city several buyers were spotted by offering sale of the sheep and goat on parked vehicles.
Local citizens and expatriates were performing their faithful rite of animal sacrifice upon eve of Eid Al-Adha according to their choice, tradition and financial position. The choice of animal sacrifice varies from citizens to expatriates. The price of local breed sheep that Saudi nationals prefer is high compared with expatriates who prefer imported sheep which is cheaper. However, this year, imported African sheep price is slightly high compare with local breed sheep.
White skinned Harri breed sheep is the most popular among Saudis in Jeddah and larger parts of Western region. They fetched prices ranging from SR 1,700 to SR 1,800 prior to Eid and was sold on Eid day at price of SR 1,300 to SR 1,400.
The Najdi breed, which is generally grown in Riyadh and central province, for which it derived the name Najd, is considered a superior breed in Kingdom and is expected to cost SR 2,200. However, it largely remained between SR 1,800 to SR 2,000. Nuaimi, sold in fewer numbers in Jeddah, was also fetching almost same range of price. These breeds have meat with delicious taste and has considerable weight in addition to a full complement of fat.
Gray skinned Sawakin, named after Red Sea port in Sudan, is another popular breed in Saudi Arabia that comes after all local breeds. Containing less weight and fat, it is mostly preferred breed by expatriate communities in Jeddah due to taste and price factors. Swakin was traded earlier in range of SR 1,200, but when local breeds prices fell drastically, the price of Swakin also dropped to range of SR 900 to SR 1,000 on Eid day.
Somalia breed also traded around SR700 to SR 800 and remained on the same range on Eid day. The Somalian breed was generally preferred choice of Indian and Pakistani communities due to its low fat and price factors.
The meat of the African breed can be stored or frozen for longer period of time and the same is not applicable to Saudi local breed. Barbari of Australia and various other local breed of sheep are also widely available, but they didn't draw the attention of customers on Eid day.
Residents, who have detached houses or villas, can conduct slaughter in their houses, whereas those living in apartments are faced with the hassle of using the toilet as a slaughter site. If not disposed properly, the unusable parts such as rare flank and belly of the sheep could cause problems for the plumbing system of house.
Another major problem is chopping larger meat portions. Distribution also is an issue. Several butchers from the Indian subcontinent sometimes step in and take orders of sacrifice ahead of Eid and perform the job of traditional chopping of small pieces.
They then hand over the bags of mutton to customers. Indian and Pakistan butchers charge something like SR 650 to SR 750 for the package that includes purchase of goat, slaughtering and butchering.
In Azzizyiah District, which is home to a large Indian and Pakistani community, butcher shops were busy late Thursday accepting orders for animal sacrifice for Friday.
To escape the hassles of slaughtering the animal, many expatriates prefer to remit money to their home countries and do the complete ritual over there and distribute the meat later among relatives and the poor.