DUBAI // More than 17,000 head of cattle are expected to be slaughtered at Dubai's abattoirs during the four days of Eid Al Adha.
Preparations to receive crowds of celebrating customers beginning on Friday are complete, the municipality said, and police have been asked to monitor road traffic.
"On a normal day, we process 160 head per hour, but on Eid we speed up the process to 200 per hour," said Ahmad Hassan Al Shammari, the head of the abattoirs section at Dubai Municipality.
The section has hired 60 extra workers to help keep the line moving, and installed two drive-through cashier windows.
"We will be open to the public immediately after Eid prayers until 4pm on the first day of Eid and then from 7.30am to 4pm for the second and third days of Eid and from 7.30am to just before sunset on the fourth day.
"After closing the door to the public, we begin to handle the workload for the various charity organisations. This year, we have more that 10,000 head of cattle to slaughter for charity."
The abattoir staff expect they will be working until midnight to ensure the sacrifices get to the charities on time.
Last year, 16,490 head of cattle passed through the abattoirs, and Mr Al Shammari expects an increase of 10 to 20 per cent this year.
"We are expecting business from visitors from other GCC countries, as many of them will be vacationing in Dubai for Eid," he said.
More than 129,000 head of cattle have been slaughtered at the abattoirs so far this year, plus sheep, goats, cows, camels and three deer.
Festivities have also been planned to entertain children visiting the abattoir. "We've set up a tent where they will have competitions, painting areas, rides and prizes will be handed out," said Mr Al Shammari.
"We will also have a tent where traditional Emirati food will be served. All this is just to help pass the time as people wait for their turn."
To ensure health and safety during Eid, Mr Al Shammari urged the public to take advantage of the municipality's facilities and not to use unlicensed butchers.
"Since it's the busiest time of year for butchers, and it's a holiday, you have a huge number of people who will be trying to cash in on carrying out illegal slaughtering and butchering," he said. "This is a serious health hazard and an ongoing problem we face throughout the year."
The municipal abattoirs are located in Al Qusais, Bur Dubai, Lusaili and Hatta.
This will be the last Eid for the Bur Dubai Abattoir, which opened in 1992 but is closing immediately after Eid. The site has been leased to the Al-Futtaim Group, who plan to build a mall there.
"We are still looking at whether or not we will be opening a new abattoir," said Mr Al Shammari.