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Bulls topple sheep sale this Bakrid festival

Bangalore: Oct 27, 2012 DH News Service 1:02 IST

Price of mutton has gone up by Rs 20 to Rs 40 per kilo

Sheep and goats on sale for Bakrid at Chamarajpet on Friday. DH photo
As Muslims across the City prepare to celebrate Bakrid with traditional fervour on Saturday, meat merchants had a different story to tell: the reduced sale of sheep.

“People prefer bulls to sheep, so our sheep sales have gone down this season,” said Gangappa, a merchant who had brought about 50 sheep from Sira in Tumkur district. “We sold only around 20 in the five days that we have been here,” he said.

In spite of the dip in demand, however, the price of mutton has gone up by Rs 20 to Rs 40 a kilo as retailers also have to pay more. The price of a 15 kg-sheep is now around Rs 6,000 which is high even with the reduced sales.

A bull costs around Rs 20,000 but has more meat and can be shared among many more people. Even camels, which cost between Rs 50,000 to a lakh, are brought in from Rajasthan and other places for sacrifice by the affluent.

“We share one-third of the cooked meat with family while one-third is given to the poor and the rest is shared with friends and relatives. So a bull turns out to be cheaper and the meat quantity more,” explained Mueen Ahmed, a resident of RT Nagar.

Male sheep are preferred over females as they are believed to be stronger.
Besides, that way, the ewes could be saved for reproduction. In a year, an ewe gives birth to only one lamb.

People who breed sheep are common farmers as well as organised breeding farms such as the Veerakempanna Sheep Breeding Farm at Anur, Shidlaghatta taluk in Chikkaballapur district.

This farm rears an Australian breed of sheep that came to India 40 years back.
This variety is more expensive than the local breed of sheep, which cost around
Rs 11,000. They are rounder and bigger, and the texture of their fur is also different.
As many meat merchants in Shivajinagar say, Bannur sheep is the favourite among customers.

Amingad, Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh, and Kolar and Bangarpet in Karnataka are among the key places from where sheep are brought to the City.
Once the sheep is sacrificed, the skin, with fur, is given by many to Madrasas, which then auction them off for export.

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