Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar
The Bali Husbandry Agency has announced a ban on goats from two provinces from entering the resort island to ensure anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease-free animals ahead of the Idul Adha day of sacrifice celebration Thursday.
The office said the two provinces, West Nusa Tenggara and West Java, were not free from anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease.
Demand for goats in Denpasar has increased over the past two weeks as Muslim residents prepare for the day of sacrifice.
"We are going to check the health of the animals. Should we find them infected with disease, we will destroy them," the agency's spokesperson, Frans Siung, said Monday.
Bali, the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia, is currently one of the largest cow producers, supplying 75,000 cows across the country annually.
The province receives hundreds of goats from other islands on a monthly basis to meet local demand, especially from the capital city Denpasar, where a large number of Muslims reside.
As of the end of November, 7,610 goats had been transported to Bali.
"From November to mid December we received 1,080 goats," Frans said.
Bali's goat farmers are mostly found in the regencies of Tabanan, Karangasem and Jembrana.
Frans said his agency had coordinated with the police and quarantine authorities at the Gilimanuk and Padang Bai ports to supervise the traffic of animals.
Fishermen, he said, were also involved to prevent smuggling.
"We can't guarantee there will be no animal smuggling. The public in general should realize that illegally transported animals could be dangerous as their health is not checked," he said.
The smuggling of livestock is alleged to have caused the spread of bird flu, although there is no confirmation of this.
The Bali administration, however, has banned the entrance of live fowl to the province, allowing only chicks and chicken meat to enter.
The regulation, however, does not apply to other husbandry animals, Frans said.
Meanwhile, the central government has canceled the provincial regulation imposing fees on all animals entering the island.
Seasonal goat sellers in Bali are getting ready for the big sell; making temporary enclosures along Denpasar's streets and Muslim-populated villages.
"I have been selling goats for ten days," Firno, 50, said.
In the past six years, Firno, who usually works as a freelance laborer, has reaped the blessings of the day of sacrifice celebration by selling goats with his friends.
"The profit is not really that much, but it's good enough for us," he said.
"The price of one goat varies according to its size. The small ones are priced at Rp 750,000 (US$83) each, while the big ones can reach Rp 1.3 million. I have sold 50 goats so far. There are 90 goats left to be sold," he said, without elaborating whether his goats had passed a health check or not.
A large number of Muslim residents can be found in Denpasar and Kampung Islam (Muslim village), Kampung Bugis (the village of the Celebes people from Sulawesi) and Kampung Jawa (the village of the Javanese).
Most of the Muslims on Bali are descendants of Javanese Muslims who migrated to the island before independence. The rest are new migrants and Muslim professionals who came to the island after the tourism boom.
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, a primary meat dish in Bali, while cows are sacred to Balinese Hindus.
"If anybody wants to start a business, they should look at the untapped goat market in Bali," Frans said.