More than 35,000 animals have been slaughtered for the Easter table this year, some 8,500 more than last year as consumers opt for local meat because of costlier imports.

Veterinary services head Christodoulos Pipis, who was accompanying Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis on a supermarket visit on Thursday, said that so far, 27,000 lambs and goats have been slaughtered, up from 20,000 in the corresponding period last year, as have 8,500 pigs, up from 7,000.

Kadis visited the supermarket as part of inspections in the run up to Easter to be briefed on the adequacy and quality of agricultural products available on the market.

“For a second year running, this will be a different Easter. Nevertheless, despite the pandemic, we see the agri-food chain is operating smoothly and that the products from the agricultural units are reaching consumers without a problem,” he said.

Products reaching consumers through licensed entities are thoroughly checked and consumers can feel safe about the quality and health of foodstuffs that reach them, he added.

“We paid special attention to the quality of meat. The checks carried out from the farm to the place of sale have shown that we can feel safe and that the quality of the meat that will be consumed is good,” he said.

Because of higher prices in the countries where we obtained our meat in previous years, consumption of local meat this year is up by more than 30 per cent, the minister added.

He urged consumers to make their purchases from licensed outlets which are checked and called for compliance with health protocols so that this is the last Easter under such difficult conditions.