The dispute began in early October, when mp Margaret Athaar, a member of the human rights committee of the Parliament, suggested that Egypt was selling the abandoned dogs to those countries where their meat is a well-appreciated for human consumption. “After having been suitably fed, a dog may be exported by about five pounds (€0.25)”, slid Athaar, which considers that the canes “are just as valuable there as the lamb here.” His initiative was intended to find a solution imaginative to the problem of excess herds of feral dogs that suffer from many cities and towns egyptians. A recent study estimated that the number of dogs abandoned in the arab country could reach 22 million, although it seems somewhat exaggerated.

His remarks, in which he defended this proposal as a better alternative to “shoot them or castrarlos”, raised some dust in the media for several days. When it seemed that the matter had already disappeared from the public agenda, last Wednesday, was revived by the publication of an exclusive in the daily Masry al-Youm, which reported that the country would export more than 4,000 animals, including dogs and cats, citing an anonymous source from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The next day, his spokesman, Hamed Abdeldayem, acknowledged in an interview to a tv egyptian the accuracy of the information, but said that his aim was not to your consumption. Now, he would not reveal to which country they would be sent. Abdeldayem itself revealed that the Ministry had obtained a fatwa, or religious edict Dinamobet of the principal theological institution of the country, the University of Al Azhar, which authorizes the slaughter of the stray dogs that intimidate citizens with their barking or biting. According to the spokesperson, this is the first time that the country conducts a transaction of this type.

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And then, yes, you opened the Pandora’s box of media. While the mp Nadia Henry presented a legislative initiative of urgency to prohibit the export of cats and dogs, activists for the rights of the animals responded by throwing the following hashtag on social networks: #combate_exportación_gatos y_perros_egipcios. Among its arguments, the article 45 of the egyptian Constitution, which orders the State to prevent “cruelty to animals”.

Even the footballer Mohamed Salah, the egyptian international and an authentic local hero, has arbitrated in the controversy. The front of the Liverpool shared a photo of her with her two siamese cats on his Twitter account. The snapshot was accompanied by the message “dogs and cats will not be exported to any part. This will not happen and can not happen”, in addition to the hashtag in Arabic, #no_violación_derechos_animales.

The comedian egyptian Youssef Hussein, who presents the weekly satirical Joe Show from London, also declined to give his opinion on the matter. “The huge amount of violations of human rights in Egypt make that [any discussion about the rights of animals] seem like a luxury, but respect the life of animals is no different to the respect of human rights,” she said. And that is, after the coup of 2013 executed by the marshal Al-Sisi, the abuses by the authorities are very serious and systematic, as has been documented numerous human rights organizations, local and international.