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Two months ago, against the advice of international health organisations, the Egyptian authorities decided to cull the entire pig population of Cairo under the pretence of tackling swine flu.
The measure caused domestic and international outrage not only because of the cruel methods involved but also because it eliminated a source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of garbage collectors.
More than 30,000 people from over 120 countries joined WSPA in speaking out against the brutal treatment of pigs in Egypt. Sadly, the cull of over 350,000 pigs was completed. The public pressure did, however, open an important line of dialogue with the Egyptian government.
WSPA have since engaged in discussions with the Egyptian Agriculture Minister, Chief Veterinary Officer and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The three parties met in Cairo to discuss humane killing for disease control, animal welfare legislation and policy improvements in the hope that this brutal treatment of animals will never happen again.
After two days of talks all participants agreed on the necessity for humane slaughter training for those carrying out disease control.
The OIE and Egyptian government are now putting a training programme together.
There is an ambitious timetable in place to seek funding and to agree a training programme with the OIE Collaborating Centre IZC (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise) in Italy.
The Egyptian government would not have made this commitment without pressure from the thousands of voices of protest that joined WSPA’s.
There is still a lot of ground to cover and this commitment needs to translate into action and improvements in welfare legislation, policies and practices towards animals.
But WSPA is committed to monitoring this process and getting involved in existing initiatives to develop animal welfare legislation.