It's more than what Careem captains make in a month
Eidul Azha is one of the biggest occasions in terms of economic activity and one of the groups that stands to gain the most from it are butchers. In just three days, their earnings can surpass what a Careem captain makes in an entire month.
In Karachi, the earning of butchers depends on various factors. Rates are high for sacrifice (Qurbani) scheduled right after Eid prayers and it costs less on the second and third days.
Butchers make an additional income by selling animal fat. These rates also vary depending upon the area. Rates in a posh locality will be higher than those in low-income neighbourhoods. The type and weight of animals are the two other factors that determine service charges or rates of butchers. For example, they charge the highest rate for slaughtering a “fancy” and heavy cow in a locality such as DHA or Clifton.
For goats, butchers charge between Rs2,500 to Rs5,000 if the sacrifice is scheduled for right after Eid prayers. The rate may fall to Rs1,500 later in the day.
For big animals such as bulls, butchers charge between Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 on the first day of Eid. The rate may fall between the range of Rs5,000 to Rs8,000 later in the day.
When it comes to fancy and heavy animals, the rates shoot up to Rs15,000 on the lower side and Rs30,000 on the higher side for slaughters scheduled for early hours following Eid prayers. Later in the day, it costs less for the same animal and butchers charge between Rs10,000 and Rs15,000.
Some butchers do the booking themselves and even slaughter goats alone, while others keep helpers. Most butchers prefer mass bookings so they can slaughter as many animals as possible at the same place. They usually operate in groups with an expert called Ustad or master and his helpers, usually less experienced butchers.
Some butchers do the bookings collectively and distribute the money equally among all members but the majority work differently.
Majeed, a butcher, told SAMAA Digital that experienced butchers, called Ustad (master), sign contracts with religious seminaries, NGOs, welfare organisations, and families that need slaughter services for a large number of animals. Such butchers keep the biggest chunk and pay dihari (a day’s wage) to the helpers. The daily wage for butchers depends upon their experience and ranges between Rs2,000 to Rs10,000. This translates to an earning of Rs6,000 to Rs30,000 for three days of Eid.
It usually takes an hour for them to sacrifice a goat, while a bull takes more than two hours if a butcher does it alone, and an hour and a half if he has helpers. They also charge extra for additional services such as removing fat and chopping the meat as per the demand of the client.
The ustad can take home about Rs90,000 in three days of Eid after paying dihari or wages to all his helpers. He also earns more by selling animal fat.
When preparing the meat, a large amount of fat is separated, which is useless for the clients, says Shahbaz, a butcher. “We gather this fat and sell it to traders, who sell it further to factories that make soaps,” he said. Barbeque outlets and boat makers are also among the buyers of animal fat.
Butchers sell this fat for Rs50 to Rs70 per kilogramme, while molten fat sells for Rs90 to Rs110 per kilogramme. It is estimated that a three maund animal yields 30 kilogrammes of fat. By that estimate, a butcher makes an extra Rs2,000 per large animal.
Besides professionals, seasonal butchers (those who are not in this profession but don’t mind slaughtering animals for some quick bucks) also make decent amount of money during Eid days. This is because the demand is much higher than the supply.
Amid low number of butchers available to perform slaughter, the seasonal butchers fill in the gap and make some money in the process.
Shahid, another butcher, says it is not difficult to slaughter an animal and many people do it themselves instead of hiring a butcher. But others often end up hiring seasonal butchers because of high demand for professional butchers who are in short supply during Eid days.
“The only difference is a professional will cut the meat properly, remove fat efficiently and separate all parts skillfully. Besides, he will do it quickly, something seasonal butchers can’t do,” Shahid said.
The rates mentioned in the story were taken from various butchers, they may vary depending on your area, animal type, and weight and the time of the qurbani.