Traders sending stock to Saudi Arabia for a higher return, leading to shortages in Abu Dhabi.

A worker about to slaughter an animal at Mina Animal Market in Abu Dhabi. The public have been urged not to slaughter animals anywhere but licensed places, with fines of up to Dh500 for those caught. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // The price of livestock has skyrocketed ahead of Eid Al Adha as traders move their stock to Saudi Arabia and Qatar for higher returns.

Consumers and smaller traders at the Animal Market at Mina, in the capital, have complained of exorbitant increases.

Emirati Ayyoub Abdullah, who was at the market to buy a sacrificial sheep, said: “The market is very high now and prices have shot up.

“A jazeeri sheep we used to get for Dh1,000 before but now we have to buy at around Dh1,700. I am looking for jazeeri and naeemi sheep.”

Millions of people take part in the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi and so many cattle are slaughtered there.

A trader at the Mina market, Saheb Khan, said big traders move their entire lot to Saudi and Qatar to earn higher prices but that results in a shortfall in supply in Abu Dhabi and, inevitably, an increase in price.

“Before we only got small goats, sheep and small jazeeri for everyday consumption but always prices for sacrificial sheep and goats on Eid Al Adha jump up,” Mr Khan said.

A Pakistan trader, Saba Khan, said an 18kg to 20kg jazeeri sheep from Iran now costs Dh1,000, up from Dh700 to Dh750 a couple of weeks ago.

Abu Dhabi Municipality has said it is prepared for the increased workload for Eid.

It also said there would be no change in the fees for slaughtering an animal, which are Dh15 per goat/sheep, Dh40 per calf/young camel and Dh60 per older cow/camel.

The slaughterhouses will remain open from 7am to 6pm on the first day of Eid tomorrow, then from 6am to 6pm the following days.

Khalifa Mohammed Al Rumaithi, the director of public health at the municipality, urged the public to abstain from slaughtering animals in houses, public places or beyond licensed slaughterhouses.

And he said that unauthorised slaughtering outside approved slaughterhouses is considered a major offence and fines of Dh500 will be imposed and animals confiscated.

During Eid, public slaughterhouses in Abu Dhabi emirate are expected to receive 17,000 heads of cattle — 8,000 in Abu Dhabi, 7,000 in Baniyas and 2,000 in Al Shahama and Al Wathba abattoirs, Mr Al Rumaithi said.