More Muslims mean more sheep farmers

The increasing number of Muslims living in Austria has been identified as one of the reasons for more lamb meat demand.The Styrian Sheep Breeders Association said today (Tues) that 25 per cent more lamb meat than two years ago is currently being sold in Austria. Soaring interest in regional and organic products but also more people with Islamic beliefs in Austria were named as factors responsible for this boom. Devout Muslims do not eat any pork. Recent surveys have shown that around 10 per cent of the Austrian population are Muslims.The association also announced it has registered more interest in sheep milk products. It said more and more cattle farmers were turning to sheep farming due to this current trend and economic reasons.Sheep farmers in Styria currently have 83,000 animals, more than farmers anywhere else in Austria.Long-term surveys have however shown that Austrians prefer pork and cattle meat.Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA), the Austrian agriculture authority, said last week that 116,280 tons of organic products like vegetables and different kinds of meat were sold in supermarkets and grocery stores across the country in 2010, 21.5 per cent more than in the previous year.