Maher Abu Assi, who worked as a butcher for more than thirty years, can no longer slaughter calves on Eid al-Adha, as he is getting older. During his youth, he used to slaughter sheep.
According to Abu Assi, due to the increased number of family members compared to the low revenue of people in the Gaza Strip, the majority of the population replaced buying the sheep by sharing the calf with 7 coupons. The butcher, who no longer works, says: “In the past, I used to slay dozens of sheep during the Eid days, but today, no one knocked on my door to ask me for any sheep for the feast. The majority of the population is now sharing calves, but due to my old age, I cannot slay calves.”
As a proof of the inability of Gaza citizens to buy the Eid meat, Ghassan Barbakh confirms that he and 6 of his relatives and neighbors will share a calf instead of sheep. He told Al Arabiya: “My family, relatives and neighbors are numerous, this is why I share a calf with my brothers to be able to distribute a bigger amount of meat [among the poor people], especially that the calf gives a greater quantity of meat and nearly twice the quantity of sheep.”
During the past few years, the Palestinians got used to eating beef and veal instead of sheep and goats, due to the increased price of one kilogram of sheep or goats meat. The price of one kilogram of sheep is around $8, as for the calf, it is around $5 or $6. The estimated meat consumption in Gaza is 10 to 12 thousand heads per year.
On the other hand, the slaughter of the calf in Gaza becomes a ceremony attended by the 7 sharing people. Their children and the neighborhood’s residents gather to watch the slaughter, holding their tea cups and cigarettes.
30 people were wounded one day before the Eid, as a result of a calf that escaped from its owners in Khan Younis, south the Gaza Strip. Palestinians often bring their sacrifices to their houses, one day before the slaughter, in the presence of dozens of children, which increase the probability that the animals would try to escape from the place. Their escape would often lead to injuries.