Earlier this week, photos of street dogs that have been shot down went viral. The Governor of Alexandria had ordered that street dogs be gotten rid of in a manner which can only be described as unnecessarily cruel. The dogs were shot at point blank, much to the dismay of their caretakers. This isn’t the first incident where street animals are killed so heartlessly, Egypt has seen many other examples of cruelty where animals were poisoned or shot. However, the graphic images went viral and this has opened a serious discussion about animal cruelty in the country; and more importantly, the fact that it is now being carried out by the government.
Animal cruelty has been an ongoing problem in Egypt for decades. For some reason, some people are still incapable of grasping the concept of animals’ ability to feel, thus treating them like objects.
“Raising awareness has to start with the common Egyptian people, especially children”
With the rise of animal rights activism, and the appearance of new groups which defend animal rights, we’re seeing a glimmer of hope, but will that be enough when not only the people, but also the government have their hearts set on ruining years’ worth of work? “We’ve been trying to solve this problem for 15 years now, giving the government alternatives like sterilizing them”, Mona Khalil, Founder of ESMA, says.
Neutering and spaying stray animals, has always been an option, which the government has unfathomably ignored, “the solution is for the government to stop killing those animals and use the solutions which we’ve given them time and time again, spaying and neutering”, Abdo Youssef, Founder of CART, says. When it comes to raising awareness, while Abdo believes in its importance, he knows that the government needs to be an example first, “what good is awareness when the government is doing this?” he asks. Still, teaching people about animals can end up in saving more, “the problem I Egypt is that any dog that barks a little too loud or runs behind another dog is called rabid. Raising awareness has to start with the common Egyptian people, especially children”, Nina Awad, an animal rights activist, says.
“We’ve been trying to solve this problem for 15 years now, giving the government alternatives like sterilizing them”
“There are no laws to protect animals in Egypt, Kuwait just recently passed a law that fines a person L.E 25,000 for harming an animals. Turkey and Jordan are also way ahead of us when it comes to animal rights”, Mona says. As these charity groups – and some individuals – strive for better laws for animal protection as well as feed, spay, neuter, treat and rescue stray animals, the majority of the people, as well as the government are heartlessly killing and torturing them in greater numbers.
Recently, one of the most sickening things we have all seen in a while took place, Alexandrian government officials sent a worker with a gun to shoot stray dogs point blank.
“There are no laws to protect animals in Egypt”
This happened due to the incorrect assumption that stray dogs are Egypt’s biggest problem, and that shooting them is the civilized way to solve this problem. When, as a matter of fact, this doesn’t come anywhere near dealing with this situation properly, “if all stray dogs and cats were taken off the street, it would cause an environmental disturbance, but if they would like to have less animals out there, the solution is to spay and neuter, not to kill”. Many dogs did not die instantly and were left to suffer and bleed to death; the pictures looked like something out of a horror movie!
There are no laws protecting animals, or at least no laws in action. When the government itself sanctions these acts for itself, the law wouldn’t apply to it, of course. And even though Egypt is a Muslim country, it seems to pick only what seems convenient and leave out the rest. The Prophet Muhammed PBUH said “A good deed done to an animal is like a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being”. Yet, somehow people tend to ignore that, citing that there are more important things to take care of, as an excuse, “people would say when you solve poverty, talk about aniial rights, but they don’t understand that they’re two different problems and you can’t compare one to the other. Violence breeds violence”, Nina says.
Although the scarring photos of the bloodbath were shared all over social media, some people continue to support the decision to shoot innocent animals.
At the end of the day, this will be another example of the Egyptian government’s inability to deal with problems without violence. These animals’ death, however, could become the reason for new awareness to be raised on this issue. The constant fight continues against the cowardice of humans in their dealings with animals whether it be in the form of abuse, poisoning, starvation or shooting plain and simple. It will not be put at halt when the government itself commits these crimes.