Indonesian Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha amid foot-and-mouth outbreak
Jakarta, Indonesia — An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease disrupted the ritual slaughter of animals to mark Eid al-Adha as millions of Muslims across Indonesia celebrated one of the biggest holidays in the Islamic calendar on Sunday.
Eid al-Adha, known as the “Feast of Sacrifice”, is a revered celebration that coincides with the final rites of the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia. It is a joyful occasion for which food is a trademark where devout Muslims buy and slaughter animals and share two-thirds of the meat with the poor.
Much of Asia, including Indonesia, India and Pakistan, observed Eid al-Adha on Sunday, while Muslims in other parts of the globe, including countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Kenya and Yemen celebrated the holiday on Saturday.
But this year an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease – an acute and highly contagious viral disease of cloven-legged animals that is sometimes transmitted to humans – has significantly dampened the usually booming holiday trade of goats, cows and sheep. in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world.
Foot-and-mouth disease is once again spreading rapidly throughout Indonesia, which had been outbreak-free for 32 years. The government, struggling to cope with the ever-increasing numbers, sets up a task force and orders the culling of nearly 3,000 infected cattle.
On Sunday, more than 336,000 animals were infected in 21 provinces, mainly on the most populated islands of Java and Sumatra. At least 2,000 animals have died from the disease, according to official data from the national foot-and-mouth disease task force.
Although foot-and-mouth disease is not generally considered a threat to human health, it can be fatal to animals, and the outbreak has diminished people’s enthusiasm for sacrifice. The country’s Religious Affairs Ministry has told Muslims they should not force themselves to sacrifice livestock during the outbreak.
“I canceled the plan to buy a goat for the Day of Sacrifice, because I am afraid of the impacts of foot-and-mouth disease on us as human beings,” said Tatu Allya, a resident of the capital, Jakarta. She said that before the epidemic reappeared, her family bought a goat or a cow every Eid al-Adha.
The government has warned all livestock farmers and traders to ensure the livestock they sell is free from the disease, ordering slaughterhouses to kill and bury all animals showing symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease and generalizing the vaccination of susceptible animals.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said the government had prepared around 3 million doses of foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, mostly from France. More than 400,000 animals were vaccinated on Sunday and the Agriculture Ministry said it distributed drugs, antibiotics, vitamins, immune boosters and disinfectant agents to farmers and ranchers.
Syauki Maulana, one of the vendors whose animals were vaccinated, said his business has suffered this year as he lost many customers. Before the foot-and-mouth outbreak, he could sell more than 60 goats, sheep and cows two weeks before Eid al-Adha, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
But on the eve of Eid al-Adha, only 28 of his animals were sold despite a large banner announcing that his animals are free of foot-and-mouth disease in his makeshift barn housing cows, sheep and goats in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta.
“I have done everything possible to keep my cattle healthy, but buyers are still worried about infections and rising prices,” Maulana said, adding that animal feed, vitamins and transport are becoming more and more expensive. more expensive.
Indonesia, like the rest of the world, is struggling to emerge from the economic recession of the pandemic. The war in Ukraine and soaring energy and food prices are complicating this recovery.
The government has eased restrictions and the return of the Eid tradition of coming home has caused great excitement among Indonesians, a vast archipelago that is home to more than 270 million people, as family reunions and get-togethers with friends were now on people’s lists. .
Worshipers, many of whom are still wearing masks, joined in joint prayers shoulder to shoulder without physical distancing on the streets of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and in mosques across the city.
Eid al-Adha commemorates the Quranic account of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice Ismail as an act of obedience to God. Before he could perform the sacrifice, God provided a ram as an offering. In the Christian and Jewish account, Abraham is ordered to kill another son, Isaac.