An Egyptian MP has proposed the country export dog meat to East Asian nations in an attempt to reduce the number of street dogs, the Egypt Independent has reported.
Deputy of the Human Rights Committee in Parliament Margaret Azer suggested that the measures were a more humane way of dealing with the overpopulation of dogs than current solutions, which include mass shootings and castration. She added that the benefits of this plan would be two fold, in reducing the likelihood of stray dogs attacking people on the street, and providing an additional source of revenue to the Egyptian economy.
"We could collect the stray dogs and place them in a farm where they would be put on a special diet for proper nutrition and then slaughtered and exported," Azer explained. "After being properly nurtured, a dog could be exported for five Egyptian Pounds ($0.28) each."
Azer told reporters that she had come up with the idea after speaking to officials in South Korea: "In such countries, they'll be as valuable as sheep are here," she claimed.
However, Azer concluded that she was not sure whether to make the suggestion in the Egyptian parliament as yet; although she was convinced it could have substantial benefits.
Her suggestion was met with condemnation from animal rights activists in the country, with Egyptian television anchor Mona Khalil, who is also the chairperson of Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA), expressing her particular shock at the suggestion.
"In our old civilisation, such animals were believed to be sacred," Khalil said, adding that countries where dog consumption is allowed are condemned worldwide. "Can we not find a solution that is more scientific? Can we not find something more humane?"
This is not the first time that Egypt has considered unorthodox ways of dealing with the country's 22 million stray dogs. In 2017, the Red Sea regional governor encouraged people to try and hunt down stray dogs, offering a 100 Egyptian pound ($5.58) incentive for every five dogs captured and delivered to the authorities.
Before that, in 2015, Alexandria Governor Mohamed Abdel Zaher caused controversy when he stated that all stray dogs should be shot in an effort to "clean the streets".
Egypt has a very weak animal rights infrastructure, with only a few laws stipulating the protection of domestic animals in vague terms. Complaints of abuse are also often disregarded by the authorities, who do not take such cases seriously. This has led to the establishment of several organisations calling for the protection of animals, and in particular strays.
Last November, the Animal Rights Committee called for stronger legislation protecting animals to be passed through parliament, and announced that it was discussing a draft law that would stipulate the rights of the animal to be fed, watered and receive adequate healthcare. However it has not yet been passed by the country's parliament.