UAE authorities have assured people of stable and reasonable prices for sacrificial animals following the importation of thousands of livestock ahead of Eid Al Adha.

The Ministry of Economy has said that around 350,000 livestock from India, Pakistan, Australia and other countries are expected to be available in markets this week while the numbers could reach 700,000 livestock before Eid Al Adha.

Eid Al Adha, the festival known for sacrificing animals, is expected to fall on August 22. There is always a high demand for animals, especially sheep and goats, as Muslims are eager to sacrifice the animals for Allah. The religious act of sacrifice lasts for four days, starting from the first day of Eid Al Adha.

Speaking to reporters during a recent meeting in Abu Dhabi, Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, said that the ministry was all prepared for the sacrificial season. He said they have put everything in place to ensure availability of sacrificial animals in the markets ahead of the festival.

"We have made necessary arrangements to ensure that sacrificial animals are available for customers in all markets across the UAE and at reasonable prices," said Al Nuaimi.

"Hundreds of thousands of animals including goats, sheep and cows are being imported into the country to meet the high demand for sacrificial animals."

Al Nuaimi added that the ministry has held several meetings with animal dealers - including suppliers and sellers - officials from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the municipalities. All the participants agreed to provide necessary facilities and market requirements for livestock suppliers and sellers to prevent any obstacles they might face, and to ensure smooth sacrifice of animals this year.

He noted that arrangements have also been made to speed up formalities at customs offices, which include inspection of animals at ports to ensure that animals don't spend a lot of time in the ships.

According to Al Nuami, unlike previous years when they faced a problem of animal shortage because of a ban on livestock from certain countries, this year, the country is receiving variety of animals from various countries including India, Pakistan, Australia, Georgia and many others nations.

The official said that the demand for sacrificial animals this year has exceeded 700,000 heads with 200,000 initial orders placed by charity organisations in the country.

"And with the current steady supply of animals, with at 350,000 heads to be received in the country this week, we are sure sacrificial animals will be available in big numbers in all livestock markets across the country," said Al Nuaimi.

He also assured residents of the stable prices of animals during Eid holidays, stressing that inspectors will closely monitor the markets.

The official prices for sacrificial animals may range from Dh450 to Dh3,000 depending on the origin, weight and age of the animal.

The official urged livestock traders to stick to the official prices while selling animals to customers.

Traders have also been warned against selling animals outside the licensed livestock markets and sale without issuing invoices. Officials warned that those caught violating the rule may face fines ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh100,000 according to the Consumer Protection Law.

Why Muslims sacrifice animals

Eid Al Adha is observed by the Muslims as "days of remembrance" of the willingness to submit to Allah's commands - Prophet Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son as per the orders of his Lord. He was then intervened by angel Jibreel to stop. In commemoration of the event, Muslims sacrifice animals and divide it into three parts - the family retains one-third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining part is given to the poor and needy. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th of Zul Hijjah.

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