Egyptian Animal Shelters Struggling Amid Unrest
Ongoing political unrest in Egypt has animal shelters in the country struggling for survival, suggest multiple accounts from staff and volunteers associated with Egyptian animal rescue groups.
(Dinar, one of many dogs now available for adoption through the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals. Dinar was first hit by a car. Homeless on the streets, she then consumed poisoned food before she was rescued. Credit: ESMA)
Even before the recent protests, animal shelters and related organizations were already experiencing financial difficulties and cutbacks due to the economic crisis affecting many Egyptians. The Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt, for example, recently announced that it could shelter no more than 20 cats and 15 dogs at a time.
Today, Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, reported, “Many essential supplies are running low in Egypt. Gas stations throughout Cairo and Alexandria are closing because they are out of fuel. Food in shops is low, and many shops are rationing how much food people can buy.”
Prison security in the country has been jeapardized, based on the reports. That, the conflicts, and associated problems have led to at least 120 human deaths so far in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.
Animal rescue workers are understandably worried about their own safety, yet many are still attempting to do their jobs.
Yesterday, Kristen Stilt of the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) posted on the group’s Facebook wall that “things are getting worse by the hour. Food will run out Tuesday and we are desperate for funds.”
She added that “our volunteers are acting as courageously as they can but it is extremely dangerous to be on the streets. As soon as they can get out, they will be getting to the zoo, pet shops, etc., where many animals are in distress. We are raising an emergency fund to prepare for all of this.”
Another organization, identified as EMRO on the Facebook page, mentions that its personnel are currently in “hiding” and are “protecting their homes.”
The Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt also has a Facebook page where it’s reported that at least one organization has 600 animals now “and they are running out of food. Looting in the street.”
The dangers, combined with an imposed curfew, appear to be adding to the present challenges.