INVESTIGATORS FROM the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have uncovered a gruesome approach by the Egyptian government to its stray dog problem in Cairo. Most evenings, government-employed dog control officers armed with shotguns randomly shoot dogs in the crowded streets of the city.
The workers are allowed one cartridge per dog. This means that the majority, who are not lucky enough to be killed instantly, are thrown into an open-top truck and left to slowly die from their wounds. Others, yelping in pain and fatally wounded, manage to run off into the night to suffer an agonising death.
WSPA estimates that more than 10,000 dogs are killed in this way on the streets of Cairo each year, and the organisation suggests that n many Muslim countries, dogs are considered vermin and rarely kept as pets. Over 90% of Cairo's estimated 1,500,000 dogs are strays.
WSPA has been involved in close dialogue with Egypt, calling for a five-year plan to deal with this issue, with recommendations including an immediate ban on cruel killing methods and the introduction of humane euthanasia and a neutering and vaccination program.
Recently, after much campaigning and difficult negotiations WSPA has achieved a breakthrough. A memorandum of understanding has been agreed with the Egyptians, and WSPA has issued the government with a full list of supplies that it will donate to facilitate the humane stray control program. Garry Richardson WSPA's Regional Director in Africa is confident that the program can be implemented soon, "We are waiting for paperwork which will allow the supplies we send to clear Egyptian customs, then we can start putting the program in place."