Photo for illustrative purpose. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Around 1.1 million imported cattle heads have arrived since last month at Saudi Arabia’s main port of Jeddah to meet needs for sacrificial animals (adhai) during the Hajj pilgrimage season, Saudi media said.

They included more than 500,000 cattle from Somalia and 500,000 others from Sudan as well as animals from other foreign markets, the Saudi news agency SPA reported.

Quarantine veterinarians from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture checked the animals to ensure they were free of diseases before clearing them for ritual slaughtering.

Saudi authorities apply stringent health rules for sacrificial animals to ensure their safety.

During Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), Muslims, who can afford it, sacrifice animals such as sheep, goats, camels and cows, honouring the Prophet Ebrahim’s willingness to slay his son Ismael at Allah’s command. As the Prophet Ebrahim and Ismael showed unwavering obedience to the divine order, Allah sent a ram slaughtered in the son’s stead.

The animal sacrifice ritual happens during the four days of Eid Al-Adha, which starts this year on July 9.