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Protests in Morocco over ‘massacre’ of stray animals

June 4, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Flag of Morocco, on 8 May 2019 [Kristin Harvey/Flickr]

Animal rights activists in Morocco staged a protest in the capital Rabat yesterday calling for an end to the culling of stray cats and dogs by the authorities.

The demonstration came a day after the interior ministry informed local media that it had already taken measures to encourage municipalities to avoid using firearms and poisons to kill stray dogs.

One demonstrator from Casablanca was quoted by AFP as saying he was against “the pitiless extermination of cats and dogs in Morocco”.

“Dogs are maltreated and put in cages with nothing to eat or drink, they are massacred — poisoned or burned alive — and their young are drowned,” the activist said.

The protest was held outside parliament in Rabat and was organized by Société Protectrice des Animaux du Maroc (SPA du Maroc)/The Humane Society of Morocco amid a wider international campaign.

“We want an immediate end to the killing of street dogs,” SPA du Maroc founder Ali Izddine said. “We also want parliament to pass a law protecting animals.”

SPA du Maroc has also urged the government to adopt the application of a TNVR programme (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return). Despite Morocco signing an agreement “to sterilise, vaccinate and identify stray dogs” in 2019, activists claim it has yet to be implemented.

Some activists online have alleged that there has been an uptick in culling of stray animals linked to the country’s interest in bidding to host the FIFA 2030 World Cup, including British actor and animal rights advocate, Peter Egan. A similar development occurred earlier this year in Tangier, ahead the city hosting the World Club Cup in February with “inhumane and unnecessary” killing of stray dogs.

In April, a video went viral showing starving stray dogs being left locked up, in an abandoned animal shelter in Al-Arjat village near Rabat, which World Morocco News said revived debate about the ongoing mistreatment of stray animals in the kingdom.

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