Protest at Cairo Zoo on April 16

Media contact: Mona Khalil FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tel. +0122188823, [email protected]

Societies, Individuals Unite to Demand Investigations into Corruption, Illegal Practices and Mistreatment of Animals in Egypt

On Saturday a coalition of Egyptian animal welfare societies and activists have called for a protest on Saturday the 16th of April at 11 am outside the Cairo Zoo in Giza. The protest will be held in front of the main gate of Giza Zoo overlooking the Roman Gate and Bridge. Among the organizations participating are ESMA (Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals), ESAF (Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, AWAR (Animal Welfare Awareness Research), Group, along with individual animal rights activists, supporters, and other concerned Egyptians.
According to Mona Khalil, ESMA co-founder and Board Chair, “The way Egypt treats animals is a shame. The Giza zoo is a national disgrace, Egypt has become known as a hub of the international illegal trade in wildlife, and the municipal policy of controlling street animal populations by shooting and poisoning is deplorable. Pet breeding and pet shops are part of an unregulated and illegitimate industry in which humans exploit animals for commercial gain, yet do not pay taxes or benefit the Egyptian economy. At the root of all this is a not only systemic corruption but also policy failure, as Egypt is lacking even the basic animal welfare legislation that would enable the prosecution of violators. Some will say that now is not the time to ask for animal’s rights, when human rights are still being violated. But actually there is no better time, as Egypt is trying to build a more just and humane society for all its inhabitants.”
Among the demands of protesters are an investigation into corruption in the Ministry of Agriculture’s General Organization for Veterinary Services and into mismanagement if the Giza Zoo, as well as an investigation into corruption in the Ministry of Agriculture staff and vets at Egypt’s ports and airports, and the removal of those responsible for systemic corruption and illegal and inhumane activities from their posts. They also demand that the new Egyptian government stop the widespread practice of shooting and poisoning street animals to reduce their population, calling for the adoption of more humane population control policies such as TNVR (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release), which has been successfully implemented in other developing countries such as India.
In addition, protestors are demanding that the pet breeding and pet shops industries be regulated and forced to adhere to a guideline for basic animal welfare standards, including proper humane treatment and veterinary care of breeding animals, and acceptable housing conditions (shelter, food and water) for animals at pet shops and breeders.P
Protesters are also calling on the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, to make sure that Egypt is adhering to the international CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) agreement, calling for the removal of its office from Giza zoo and for an end to the illegal trade in primates, reptiles and other exotic animals that are sold on the black market to theme parks, individuals, and pet stores.
Finally, they are asking for the passage of animal welfare legislation which will provide a legal standard for humane treatment of working animals, zoo animals and wildlife, animals at breeders and pet shops, as well as humane standards of slaughter or livestock. Without laws being passed, there are no legal consequences for animal cruelty and mistreatment, so animal welfare policy and legislation are critical.

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