Sonia Horon, Global Animal
With all the political chaos going on in Egypt, it’s easy to forget the suffering of its animals. Animals in ancient Egypt were once valued and respected, and guardians would even share their grave with their beloved pet. But in today’s Egypt, they endure an entirely different fate. The country has almost no laws that protect animals, both wild and domesticated, and they face every kind of abuse one can imagine. In many ways Egypt rivals China in its abhorrent treatment of animals.
Egypt has a large number of strays, and the government’s solutions are often brutal and inhumane. Stray’s are often shot or poisoned. There are cases of hungry, homeless dogs being fed food mixed with glass. The digestion of this is long and excruciating, and leads to death. Other dogs without homes are brutally beaten, drowned, or tied with ropes that cut into their skin.
Egypt’s “labor animals” are worked to death. Many families depend on donkeys for their survival, yet they are not treated with care or respect. Donkeys are subjected to homemade equipment, such as saddles, that oftentimes don’t fit them properly. This results in painful wounds that go mostly untreated and lead to even more painful infections. Donkeys are also physically abused and forced to work past the point of exhaustion.
But animal abuse doesn’t only occur on the streets, it also happens in Egypt’s Giza Zoo. The infamous Giza Zoo, located by the Nile river, is the epitome of corruption. Some workers are accused of killing or selling their captives, with some animals simply disappearing from the zoo. But what happens to the ones that disappear — whose fate is most often death — is still more humane than what happens to those who remain. The caged animals are kept in awful conditions. Lions and chimps are kept in small cages where they pace, jump, and scream. The zoo’s elephant is leashed to a short chain, with no adequate exercise. The animals that don’t die all display signs of distress.
It this wasn’t enough, zoo keepers have are accused of letting people come in and play with exotic animals in exchange for money, defending their actions by saying that their salary barely allows them to care for their families. The chairman of the zoo takes no responsibility for this, and in a Los Angeles Times article said that the zoo is “too vast” for him to control.
Amina Abaza, the founder and president of the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt (S.P.A.R.E), described the very grim realities of why Egypt’s youth needs to be educated on the subject of animal cruelty. “Many children find their pleasure by drowning little puppies, burying little kittens alive, or banging their head into a wall (this is a classical game).” A lot of the animal cruelty going on in the country is the outcome of ignorance. S.P.A.R.E is working to change that by educating Egypt’s youth. The organization visits schools and teaches children that kindness to animals is important.
S.P.A.R.E is also a shelter that accepts animals in need. They work hard to rescue, treat, microchip, and house animals ranging from cats to donkeys. They offer free veterinary care to the community, and teach farmers how to better care for their animals. They speak out against animal testing, and work on passing legislation to help animals.
Ever since forming in 2001, the organization has been warmly embraced by the community, giving hope that Egypt may develop better laws to protect animals, and guide Egyptian culture to once more cherish the beautiful creatures they share their land with.
If you live in Egypt and would like to report animal abuse, call the S.P.A.R.E landline at 00202 33813855 or Amina Abaza at 002 0122 3162912. You can also e-mail at [email protected]
Help out animals in Egypt by donating to S.P.A.R.E.