UK missing out on Eid sacrifice income, says expert

Most UK Muslims are buying sheep for the annual Islamic Qurbani ritual sacrifice overseas, and the UK is missing out on a big opportunity, according to a halal meat expert.

Qurbani, which is obligated of Muslims, is the sacrifice of an animal for Eid-ul Adhaa, with the meat to be distributed to the poor.

Hazrat Allama Pir Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, principal of the Hijaz College, national convenor of the Muslim Action Committee (MAC) and secretary general of the International Muslims Organisation has determined that sheep for Qurbani must be over a year of age at time of slaughter. This is backed up by the principle of Fiqh, or ‘Islamic Jurisprudence’

Naved Syed, Halal adviser to Yorkshire Asian Business Association told that since this year’s Eid-ul Adhaa falls on 4-5 October, it is timed badly to coincide with a glut of spring lamb, aged under the required one year of age. He has therefore appealed to the UK industry to prepare for next year and hold back older sheep for Qurbani for the benefit of the UK economy.

Syed said that UK Muslims, who currently order sheep for Qurbani abroad, where it is also redistributed, could be buying 100,000 extra sheep from the UK market if the animals were available. He estimated that this could be worth £1 million to the industry over two days. Next year’s celebrations will take place from 24-25 September, and Syed has urged the industry to be ready with sufficient livestock to make the most of Qurbani in 2015.

He said: “We need to be prepared for next year; around 100,000 sheep for meat - this is what the UK is going to lose. This will have a detrimental effect for the UK economy as the funds from these Qurbani for Eid-ul-Adhaa will most likely be sent overseas.”

Syed explained another problem: “The lambs for Qurbani are too young, not only does this not count as a Qurbani for Eid-ul Adhaa, but it will also have a detrimental effect by reducing the numbers of adult sheep in the future as farmers will sell more lambs. This will then put up the cost of sheep/ewes and force more Muslims to send their money for their Qurbani for Eid-ul Adhaa over-seas due to the lack of product.”

Nick Allen, Eblex sector director, responded: “It is up to the Muslim community to set the criteria in relation to the Qurbani sacrifice for Eid. Eblex has not been approached to discuss the issue.

“If the Muslim community would like us to engage with its leaders to discuss suitable age of slaughter to fulfil their requirements, we would be happy to.”

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