Woolly Luxury

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Muslims around the world are celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Adha this week to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as an act of obedience to God.

The celebration generally involves the slaughter and consumption of sheep, so the animals are in high demand near the holiday.

In Senegal, however, one special type of sheep is always spared, noted the Associated Press.

Meet the King of Sheep, the prized Ladoum, a breed that is considered the Ferrari of sheep and can command prices of up to $70,000 in the West African nation, where the average annual income is less than $5,000. As a result, to own one is the ultimate status symbol.

It is, as National Geographic noted, the most expensive sheep in the world.

“Owning a Ladoum differentiates you from other people,” chef Fatou Sen told Quartz Africa in 2022. “Ladoums are for the stars, not ordinary people.”

The majestic-looking breed is a cross between the Mauritanian Touabire and the Malian Bali-bali sheep. Weighing up to 397 pounds, these sheep are praised for their glossy fur and symmetrical horns.

Although smaller Ladoums may be sacrificed, it’s the big ones that get pampered: The woolly creatures spend their days getting groomed and fed vitamins in special parlors.

Some Ladoum even compete in beauty pageants, popular in the West African nation.

And because they are so valuable, sheep theft has become a problem for some breeders and owners, the Guardian noted.

Meanwhile, the wooly creatures also serve as emotional support animals.

“When you are stressed out and you go in front of the sheep, you are cool,” Ladoum parlor owner, Ball Gadiaga, told the AP. “You feel at ease.”

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