Right-Wing Duplicity: Protesting Eid Al-Adha Sacrifices, Promoting Meat Exports Internationally

Children playing with their sacrificial goats

Huneza Khan, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): As Eid al-Adha approaches, right-wing organizations and animal rights advocacy groups begin advocating for a vegan festival — condemning animal sacrifices as cruel. PETA India, for instance, called for the deletion of Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, arguing that sacrifices inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals and are outdated in modern society. These campaigns, allegedly driven by Islamophobia and long-standing prejudices against the Muslim community, are not new and overlook the true essence of Eid al-Adha — a festival of love, sacrifice and joy.

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For Muslims, Eid is a time of deep spiritual reflection and community bonding. The act of sacrifice symbolizes devotion and compassion, contrasting with allegations of animal cruelty and meat consumption.

“Eid brings immense joy, especially for children, as many Muslim families buy and begin raising goats shortly after Eid al-Fitr. They develop deep affectionate bonds with these animals in preparation for the sacrificial rituals of Eid al-Adha,” said Shariq Ahmed, who had brought his young grandson to a local ground where goats grazed.

“Children eagerly persuade their parents to buy goats. My grandson is too stubborn, insisting on the animal. These children gather here in the evenings to play and compete with their new friends. They treat their goats as cherished family members, which embodies the essence of Eid al-Adha,” he added.

India stands as one of the largest meat exporters, with buffalo exports extending to 71 countries, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. In the financial year 2023, buffalo meat exports from India totaled Rs 25,648 crore, a substantial increase from Rs 13,757 crore in 2012.

YouTuber Al Amir Khan, who was exploring goat markets across Bhopal, shared some intriguing insights. “It is not just Muslims purchasing animals in the market. Non-Muslims also buy goats for sacrificial rituals, often in bulk, filling entire trucks. This demonstrates that people from various religions buy animals as needed,” he observed.

Youth and children with their sacrificial animals

“When buyers purchase animals, they often plan to divide the sacrificial meat into three parts, emphasizing that their focus is not solely on meat consumption. They prioritize ensuring that a portion can be given to the poor even before making a purchase,” he added.

He noted that the highest-priced goat this season fetched Rs 12 lakhs and weighed over a quintal. While traders sometimes make profits, they also face losses. This year, due to the high cost of goats, many preferred buffaloes. Market fluctuations, influenced by the availability of various animals, led to crashes, affecting businessmen.

“Businessmen from all over Madhya Pradesh come to Bhopal to sell their animals. Mumbai and Pune have high-priced animals, so buyers come here for purchases. Typically, people in Bhopal do not buy high-cost animals. Sellers from nearby villages also bring their livestock to the city,” said Khan.

A businessman noted that women farmers, particularly in third-tier cities, purchase at least 10 goats before Eid. Brokers from first and second-tier cities buy these goats from the women for Rs 10,000 and resell them for Rs 15,000, providing significant economic opportunities in the unorganized sector. This practice supports rural communities by improving livelihoods and helping meet significant expenses such as their daughters’ marriages.

Mohammad Sohail, who has raised goats since childhood, dedicates considerable time and resources to their care. He spends thousands of rupees each month on their upbringing, often reducing personal expenses to ensure they have a healthy diet. By the time Eid al-Adha arrives, the market value of his goat exceeds Rs 1 lakh.

“It is the Sunnah of our Prophet,” Sohail explained. “We care for these animals more than we care for ourselves. Though we could sell them for a substantial profit, we choose to sacrifice them at home because of the deep affection we develop throughout the year. Islamically, it is virtuous to sacrifice an animal we have grown attached to. We nurture these animals like our own children, playing with them and building bonds. The goats, in turn, also become attached to us, behaving differently with different people — showing love to those who care for them and reacting protectively to those who bother them. We sacrifice them for Allah, in memory of Prophet Ibrahim, who was ready to sacrifice his son out of love for Allah. We try to feel that pain, and it brings us peace,” he remarked.

According to the National Family Health Survey 5 (2019-21), a significant portion of India’s population regularly consumes meat. The survey indicates that 57.3 percent of men and 45.1 percent of women eat chicken, fish or other varieties of meat at least once a week. This trend is notably higher in urban areas, where approximately 60 percent of men and 50.8 percent of women consume meat weekly, compared to their rural counterparts.

Among religious communities, Christians top the list as the most frequent consumers of non-vegetarian food. About 80 percent of Christian men and 78 percent of the community women consume non-vegetarian food at least once a week. In comparison, 79.5 percent of Muslim men, 70.2 percent of Muslim women and 52.5 percent of Hindu men, along with 40.7 percent of Hindu women, also consume meat with similar frequency.

“Eid conveys a profound message of love and peace. We distribute the meat among relatives, neighbors and the less fortunate, gathering as a family to share a meal,” explained a community member. “Our non-Muslim friends eagerly anticipate Eid, often reminding us well in advance and participating joyfully in our celebrations. Despite occasional negativity on social media and in the news, we unite joyously for Eid. For those who cannot join us, we ensure they receive a portion of the celebration. Eid is a celebration for all.”