Butchers on strike in the Azerbaijani city of Sheki
Butchers in the central market town of Sheki (about 400 km north-west of Baku) have been closed for the last two days.
They stopped working in protest against the town market’s new administrative charge of 4 manat (about USD 2) for each slaughtered animal. This fee is levied for the space provided and for sanitary analysis. As per the new rules, animals may only be slaughtered in specially designated areas.
This increases the cost of meat. Butchers fear that an increase in price will in turn lead to a drop in the demand for their goods and to losses. A kilogram of lamb at this market currently costs 7-10 manat (USD 4-6), and beef 10 manat (USD 6).
The story was first reported on by Turan news agency. The events have been confirmed on social networks by some Sheki residents. However, they are not afraid of a meat shortage as there are other stores where it is available. State agencies have neither confirmed nor reacted to this information.
Meanwhile, journalist Natik Javadli wrote on his Facebook page that he had a telephone conversation with one of Sheki’s butchers who denied the existence of the strike.
By decree of the President of Azerbaijan, stricter regulations on animal slaughter and butchering have been enforced since the middle of June throughout the country. The Food Security Agency is responsible for enforcing the new regulations.