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Egypt: Calls to eat donkey, horse meat spark controversy on social media

March 11, 2023 at 9:51 am

Egyptian man rides a loaded donkey in the northern rural province of Menufiya on December 16, 2017 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]

An Egyptian journalist sparked controversy after he called on citizens to eat horse and donkey meat in light of the high prices of meat and poultry in the country. The contention worsened when an official at the National Nutrition Institute said the institute did not object: “Provided there is societal consensus on the matter.”

The controversy began with Egyptian journalist Tamer Amin who demanded that the consumption of horse and donkey meat be officially rationed considering the high cost of other meats consumed by citizens.

Amin announced on his television show, commenting on the arrest of a Pakistani citizen for selling horse meat in the Egyptian governorate of Dakahlia: “Horse and donkey meat is sold and eaten in many countries of the world, including developed ones, and horse meat is a very expensive dish in Paris. They say it is very healthy and safe.”

He added: “I don’t believe there is anything in Sharia law and religion that prohibits the consumption of horse and donkey meat, only the prohibition of pork for Muslims.” He then posed the question: “From a nutritional and scientific point of view, is horse and donkey meat safe?”

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Al-Nahar TV channel, which airs Amin’s show, deleted the clip of him making these statements in the episode, but activists managed to save it before it was removed.

Amin’s statements ignited anger on social media, as followers considered his statements an insult to the Egyptian people, while others demanded that he leads by example and eat donkey meat himself.

The controversy increased after Magdy Nazih, an official at the state-run National Nutrition Institute, joined in with the Egyptian journalist and confirmed in a telephone call: “There are no scientific prohibitions against eating donkey and horse meat, and the matter only needs societal consensus.”

Egypt is witnessing significant increases in meat prices, as the price of a kilogram of buffalo meat reached $9.70 in many regions and exceeded this figure in others, while the price of a kilogram of chicken reached $2.90.