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Flying 4,000 cows to Qatar is one man’s way to beat the Saudis

The showdown between Qatar and its neighbors has disrupted trade, split families and threatened to alter long-standing geopolitical alliances.

It’s also prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf desert in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk.

It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts

“This is the time to work for Qatar,” said Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding. 

Led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar stands accused of supporting Islamic militants, charges the sheikhdom has repeatedly denied

“It’s a message of defiance, that we don’t need others,” said Umm Issa, 40, a government employee.

“Our government has made sure we have no shortages and we are grateful for that. We have no fear. No one will die of hunger.” She said.

Most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Doha’s more than 1 million population came from Saudi Arabia up until a week ago.

Al Khayyat, whose main business is a construction firm that built Qatar’s biggest mall, had been expanding the company’s agricultural business at a farm 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Doha.

Fresh milk production will now start by the end of the month and will eventually cover a third of Qatar’s demand by mid-July, Al Khayyat said.

Shipping cost for the animals, which increased more than five times to $8 million.

“No one in his daily life feels a crisis,” Al Khayyat said. “The government is working very hard to ensure there’s no effect.”

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