x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi abattoirs get ready for the holy month rush

Municipality prepares slaughterhouses for increased business during Ramadan.

ABU DHABI // Preparations for Ramadan and Eid are in full swing at slaughterhouses, which experience a huge increase in business during the month.

"This Ramadan more than 60,000 cattle are expected to be slaughtered during the month," said Mohammed Al Marzouqi, slaughterhouse section head at Abu Dhabi Municipality.

"Normally we slaughter about 40,000 a month at the five abattoirs in Abu Dhabi."

Staff are not allowed to take leave for the month and extra hands will be hired, with the number of butchers increasing by 20 per cent and cleaners by 30 per cent.

There will be 75 butchers working in Abu Dhabi and Baniyas, and 40 in Shahama and Al Wathba. The automated slaughterhouse will have 45 butchers.

The municipality has also introduced measures to avoid meat spoiling in the heat. Since last month, all slaughterhouses provide three sizes of boxes filled with ice to keep meat cool for up to four hours.

The containers are available for Dh15, Dh20 and Dh25. The service will become a permanent fixture.

"We have experienced so many people who come to the slaughterhouse, take the meat along and put it in the boot and go to shop at the Mina's fruit and vegetable market, then visit shopping malls and spend hours," Mr Al Marzouqi said.

"So meat begins to smell when they open it at home."

This leads to customers complaining that the animal was not healthy, said Dr Najdat Nour, veterinary control section head at the municipality's public-health administration.

"We spend millions of dirhams on different health, safety and hygiene issues at the abattoirs, and the public only has to pay Dh15 for slaughtering a goat, which is almost free and a public service," Mr Al Marzouqi said.

"No cattle will be slaughtered before being properly checked by the abattoir's veterinarians. Whether there is one goat or 1,000, we never compromise with the public health, hygiene and safety."

The municipality has said there would be no change from last year in slaughtering fees.

Those fees are Dh15 for a goat or sheep, Dh40 a calf and Dh60 for an adult cow or camel, Dr Nour said.

For that price, the carcasses will also be cut into pieces according to the customer's wishes.

The municipality is also offering free home delivery of butchered animals. Residents must request the quantity and kind of goat, lamb or sheep they want.

"The service is available at all abattoirs," Mr Al Marzouqi said. "People need to call us and fresh meat will be delivered at their doorstep as per their choice of pieces.

"Our contractors will go to the animal market to find the suitable goat as specified. And this is free." Mr Al Marzouqi warned the public against slaughtering animals in their homes and in residential areas.

"There is almost a 50 per cent increase in the waste generation during Ramadan as compared with normal months," Dr Nour said.

During Ramadan the abattoirs will be open from 6am to 6pm. In Abu Dhabi and Baniyas they will also operate between 10pm and 1.30am.

anwar@thenational.ae