Virus fears force animal sellers online for Muslim festival

Laveta Brigham

Prancing in front of a camera with its blond mane blowing in the wind, “007” is one of thousands of goats being sold online as Muslims prepare for a key religious festival shaken this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions of goats, sheep and cattle are slaughtered annually at Eid al-Adha — the festival of sacrifice — one of two major holy days observed by Muslims across the world, including some 600 million in South Asia.

The pandemic has, however, badly hit India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have shut or heavily restricted major markets, while fears about catching the virus are keeping customers away ahead of the main festival on Saturday.

“We were traumatised by the loss of two of my uncles to COVID-19 and didn’t want to sacrifice an animal,” Saddid Hossain told AFP in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

“But we have to stay within our religious tradition, so we’d

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