The city has been under a spell of festivals right from Navratri to Dussehra to Bakri Eid that falls on Wednesday. It has been gripped by illness and viral fever, too. Not human beings. But animals, especially goats, have fallen prey to the disease.
Thanks to the extended monsoon till the first week of October which spoilt the first three days of Navratri, it was about to play spoilsport for Bakri Eid, too, as many goats fell prey to cough and cold.
Naturally, goat sellers were in jitters fearing a huge fall in sales if the goats fell ill. “We were scared when four to five goats fell ill a week before Bakri Eid. We had to call veterinary doctors to attend to them. Thankfully, the goats are fine now,” said Mohammed Arif, a goat seller at Danilimda.
It is believed that for qurbaani (sacrifice), the goat should be healthy with no illness or injuries. Arif also said that in his eight years of goat trading from Rajasthan to Ahmedabad, this is the first time that the goats fell ill before Bakri Eid.
Similarly, another goat trader in Behrampura said that out of the thousand goats on sale, nearly 3-5% (30-50 goats) fell ill this year. Though it is difficult to determine the exact number, nearly 5% goats in every market suffered from viral fever.
The city has witnessed a rise in the number of goats on sale, from 70,000 to around 1 lakh this year. And, 80% of them are from Rajasthan while the rest are from the city and MP.
A goat seller from Ranip, who has been in this business for 20 years, said the illness was due to extreme weather conditions. “In Rajasthan, the climate was dry. But when the goats were brought to Ahmedabad, the weather was cloudy with irregular rain. As a result, they were struck by viral fever,” said Usman Qureshi.
Surprisingly, not a single goat at the Ranip market fell ill. “These goats in Ranip are from Ahmedabad and have been given special treatment since months or years for Bakri Eid. Utmost care is taken regarding their food and the goats are kept in special rooms. They are not allowed to graze in jungles/green patches to ensure that they remain healthy,” explained Qureshi.
Moreover, the price of goats has shot up this year. Last year, a goat cost from Rs8,000-12,000.
This year, it is Rs15,000 onwards.