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RTS1YAZI
Mongolia meat exporters turn to Iran
Mongolian butcher Kuntuguan Ajbai chants under his breath as he slits the throat of a sheep with a single stroke of his sharpened knife, making sure the animal's swift death is halal – acceptable under the laws of Islam.

Kuntuguan's work at a slaughterhouse in the city of Darkhan, about 100 miles (160 km) from the nation's capital, comes amid surging demand from Iran for halal meat and as Mongolia pushes to make more money from the huge herds of livestock that roam its vast grasslands.

"This is a special ritual we do while slaughtering," said Kuntuguan, a 27-year-old Muslim of Kazakh extraction, his rubber boots and white apron splattered with blood.

"We do it in the name of Allah to get permission to kill the animals."

Mongolia has an estimated 30 million sheep - more than New Zealand - but has until recently only managed to export a thin slice of its overall meat output. It hopes that will change as it taps overseas appetite for halal mutton from places such as Iran, which are forced to import due to limited local production.

Largely because of that kind of new demand, Mongolia's sheep and goat meat shipments hit 2,601 tonnes in 2017, 11 times more than 2016.

And while that was worth only around $8 million, industry officials say those volumes are likely just the start, with exports in the first-half of 2018 quadrupling year-on-year to 775.6 tonnes.
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LW
August 22, 2018
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LE
August 22, 2018
A package of frozen sheep meat is seen at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A package of frozen sheep meat is seen at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
A package of frozen sheep meat is seen at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LT
August 22, 2018
Workers sit near sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Workers sit near sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province...
Workers sit near sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LC
August 22, 2018
The sun sets over a sheep herd in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
The sun sets over a sheep herd in Darkhan-Uul province
The sun sets over a sheep herd in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9M1
August 22, 2018
A man works at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A man works at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
A man works at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LG
August 22, 2018
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag sits in his ger tent in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag sits in his ger tent in Darkhan-Uul province
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag sits in his ger tent in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LY
August 22, 2018
A man cuts a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A man cuts a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
A man cuts a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LV
August 22, 2018
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LU
August 22, 2018
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LR
August 22, 2018
A man works on a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A man works on a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province...
A man works on a sheep carcass at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LQ
August 22, 2018
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul...
Men remove the pelt from sheep carcasses at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LN
August 22, 2018
Sheep carcases hang in a refrigerator at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Sheep carcases hang in a refrigerator at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province...
Sheep carcases hang in a refrigerator at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LM
August 22, 2018
A worker packages frozen sheep meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A worker packages frozen sheep meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province...
A worker packages frozen sheep meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LL
August 22, 2018
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag poses in front of his sheep in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag poses in front of his sheep in Darkhan-Uul province
Sheepherder Damjin Puntsag poses in front of his sheep in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LK
August 22, 2018
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
People work at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LH
August 22, 2018
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
MONGOLIA-MEAT/HALAL
RTS1Y9LB
August 22, 2018
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia,...
DARKHAN-UUL, Mongolia
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province
A worker cuts meat at Darkhan Meat Foods that produces halal meat in Darkhan-Uul province, Mongolia, August 13, 2018. Picture taken August 13, 2018. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj
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