Every year, a few cows and oxen are lowered to the ground by a crane from the roof of a cramped house in the densely populated Nazimabad neighbourhood of the 16-million-square-foot city, to the delight of a curious and cheerful crowd.
Their owner, Syed Ejaz Ahmad, 55, has been raising sacrificial cattle on the roof of his four-story house for 15 years for Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
Syed Ejaz Ahmad raises cattle in a rooftop barn and every year for the festival of Eid al-Adha he lowers them 40 feet to the ground using a crane before they are sacrificed for their meat.
“When the animal’s feet struggled, I thought it might break the straps and fall on the crowd of people, particularly children,” he said. “Now I have a lot of practice doing it.”
A cow is being lifted by a crane from the roof of a building in Karachi, Pakistan, in preparation for Eid al-Adha, or “Eid al-Adha.” The animals are kept on the roof for a year where they are well cared for by their owners before the animals are slaughtered on Eid al-Adha.
In Pakistan, it is generally acceptable for people to keep sacrificial animals outside their homes for a few days before Eid, but leaving them tied up in congested alleys and crowded neighbourhoods for months would provoke strong protests from other residents.
Unlike others, who often buy sacrificial animals to slaughter a few days before Eid, Ahmad decided to build a shelter on his rooftop and raise his own sacrificial cattle, which has proven to be a much cheaper option for the small business owners.
According to animal rights groups, Pakistan’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) is out of date. Rescue workers claim that even if the government only made animal cruelty a crime, sanctions alone would not stop the abuse.