With the arrival of Eid al-Adha, the demand for red meat in Bahrain grows as consumers prepare to perform sacrificial rites. Bahrainis flock to purchase sacrificial animals during the early morning hours of the first day of the holiday.
The Bahrain Livestock Company, which holds a monopoly over live cattle and sheep imports in Bahrain, doubled the amount offered on the domestic market to meet the growing demand.
Prices for sacrificial animals this year vary according to the country of origin, ranging from 30 Bahraini dinars to 150 Bahraini dinars. The Barhama market is one of the largest sheep markets in Bahrain. It is busy during the holiday and is frequented by Bahrainis and Arab residents who are looking to buy live sheep.
"The Barhama market for sacrificial animals began displaying live sheep and goats Friday (November 12th) which include Arab sheep and goats at prices ranging from 70-100 Bahrain dinars, 'baladi' and 'naimi' sheep for 150 Bahraini dinars and Iranian sheep for 100 Bahraini dinars," Nasser al-Halibi, a Bahraini butcher in the Manama Central Market, said.
Al-Halibi said importation of live Somali sheep doubles during this period, pointing out that their prices are reasonable for most segments of Bahrain, costing between 45 and 60 Bahraini dinars per head.
Al-Halibi said the Bahrain Livestock Company offers Australian sacrificial animals for 30 dinars, noting that the company provided Eid sacrificial animals to traders, whose shares range from 200 to 300 animals.
Ibrahim Salman, general director of the Bahrain Livestock Company emphasized "the company’s complete readiness to provide sacrificial animals in large quantities during the holiday period to avoid any potential shortfall," adding that the company has a specific timetable for the importation of livestock to meet demand.
Salman said the company stockpiled Australian sheep in preparation for Eid al-Adha. He said that the company recently received two shipments from Australia carrying 40,000 head of sheep, noting that the company is offering the equivalent of 2,300 to 2,500 head of Australian live and frozen sheep in the domestic market daily, in addition to reasonable quantities of Pakistani cattle.
"There is an agreement among butchers to supply the required quantities of livestock and slaughter them under the supervision of representatives of the assembly and distribute the meat to needy families in Bahrain during the days of the Eid, taking into account the environment and public hygiene," Adel Busiba, director of social services at the Charitable Islamic Breeding Association, said.
"The performance of butchers is monitored closely so there is no misuse of sacrificial meat and it does not reach the market for sale at low prices," he added.