The trend of online booking for qurbani-related services provided by professionals at their own facility – known as "Full Qurbani Service" – is rising across the country ahead of Eid-ul-Adha.
Though it is a relatively lesser known sector in Bangladesh, several companies have been offering such hassle-free service related to religious sacrifice to their customers for years.
When booked online ahead of Eid, a service provider will slaughter sacrificial animals and process and package the meat at their slaughterhouse and conveniently deliver the meat to the customer's home.
The service has been getting a good response from city dwellers this year due to the obligations of social distancing measures and the possible unavailability of butchers amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
A number of online platforms have launched such services throughout the country, with many among them doing it for the first time.
Bengal Meat, an outlet that pioneered the "Full Qurbani Service" in Bangladesh, is also selling cattle on its online qurbani haat (sacrificial animal market).
Speaking to The Business Standard, Bengal Meat's Head of Marketing Sharfuddin Ahmed Chowdhury said, "We have been providing this service in Bangladesh for around six years.
"We have taken a high safety scheme this year, keeping social distancing measures and mitigation of health risks in mind amid the pandemic. Demand for such service is increasing every year, but this year we have been getting a surprisingly huge response."
He went on, "Customers can buy cattle by using our website in the comfort of their homes, and without any hassle or health risks. We will then take care of the rest.
"Our squad of professionals will do everything, from carrying out a halal qurbani to processing the meat, while maintaining a healthy and hygienic environment. They will then package the meat in food-grade bags and deliver it to the customer's address on schedule."
When asked about the costs, the Bengal Meat official said, "Depending on the size and price of the cattle, our service charge varies between Tk22,000 and Tk25,000.
Another venture named Madol, an e-commerce company operating on Facebook, is a newcomer to this particular business.
Madol's Chief Marketing Officer Mehedi Masood said, "We launched this facility with public service in mind, instead of business. Customers will only have to let us know what type of cattle they want.
"We will then buy it from the market and handle all subsequent responsibilities. After qurbani and processing, the meat will be packaged with zipper bags weighing five kilograms each and delivered to the customers' homes on time."
Emphasising that this service would not pose a risk to people's health as might be the case with slaughtering sacrificial animals in open spaces, with a lot of contamination accompanying the processing, Masood said, "We will ensure full health safety measures for every member of staff connected with this service."
He added that Madol would charge a customer 10 percent of an animal's price for this facility.
Sheba.xyz, a venture that used to supply butchers to customers, has also launched its "Full Qurbani Service" this year.
Anwar Hosain, digital query management officer of the company, said, "We have launched this service as the festival is drawing close amid the ongoing pandemic."
This platform will provide an additional facility to their customers who want to buy sacrificial animals with other people by sharing the costs.
Providers of this service are optimistic that the trend of bookings for "Full Qurbani Service" will keep rising just as the trend of buying cattle online is rising.
Though it is a relatively new concept in Bangladesh, many countries across the world have been using this form of service for years. The Pakistan-based "Meat One" is the largest venture in this sector globally and is most popular in Middle Eastern countries.