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Soaring prices make hard for Tunisians to buy sacrificial sheep
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08:51, December 08, 2008

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Stagnated income and soaring prices make hard for Tunisians to buy a sheep on the religious holiday of Eid el-Kebir, forcing many of them into debt.

In Muslim Arab countries, the head of each family cuts a sheep's throat as a symbol of the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

The ceremony of sheep's slaughtering marks the end of pilgrimage for millions making the trip to Mecca each year.

"Sheep prices are so high. They are even exorbitant for people with low income like me," said Ridha Ben Sassi. "How can a person with monthly earnings of 300 dinars (216.91 US dollars) buy a sheep of 370 dinars?"

"Personally, I'm able to purchase one whose cost doesn't exceed250 dinars. I hope prices will ease on the eve of El Eid. If not, I'll borrow some money from a friend," added the 45-year-old gardener.

The minimum guaranteed wage is at 239 dinars in the country of 10 million population with a large slice of it earns less than 400dinars per month.

"I've just paid off the loan of last year ant I took another topay the sheep and other costs of el-Eid," said Aziz Aouichi, an employee.

"I can't deprive my children of something the others have. Theyare just kids and want to play with the sheep in the days before el-Eid," added the father of two boys.

Tunisia's inflation rate rose to 4.5 percent in October versus 3.7 percent in the same period in the previous year on the back of high food and transport costs which have been inflated by soaring prices of imported oil and commodities.

Butchers say sheep prices rise especially before the Eid following a strong demand over that period and people are forced to buy one to feast this religious ceremony.

Besides, the high costs of cattle feed for livestock had pushed higher prices of sheep. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.383 dinar)

Source: Xinhua



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