Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Egyptian Animal Rights Activists to Hold Protest Outside the Giza Zoo

A captive lion in Giza Zoo

Egypt is widely known as the birthplace of an ancient civilization that has long been popular amongst archaeologists and historians for generations. The nation still proudly boasts with signature monuments such as pyramids and the sphinx, but many treasures that once belonged to ancient pharaohs were dug out since long and brought to museums worldwide. Nonetheless, Egypt's monuments and ancient ruins still draw millions of tourists from all around the world to learn about its fascinating history. However, this all changed in January 25th 2011 when a revolution ignited in the nation's capital of Cairo where thousands of protesters expressed their grievances towards a wide range of political and social issues.

But now, there is another issue to become a subject of protest: animal cruelty. A coalition of Egyptian activists and organizations have teamed up together to demand the overall treatment of animals at the Giza Zoo. Among the participants include the Egyptian Society for the Mercy to Animals (ESMA), the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends (ESAF), and the Animal Welfare Awareness Research (AWAR), who hope that a citizen demonstration will help bring focus to issues that have plagued the nation. It has been announced that a protest will take place outside the zoo on the 16th of April to address matters ranging from the state of the zoo itself, illegal trades in wildlife, to unregulated pet breeding. There is even a controversial issue of the government's ability to either poison or shoot homeless animals, in order to control the population. These issues were identified by Mona Khalil, co-founder of ESMA. She further added that policy failure is at the root of all this misery, along with systemic corruption and that Egypt lacks even basic animal welfare legislation that would prosecute violators.

This news report is in a sense parallel to the one about countless lives of animals lost in Ukraine's Kiev Zoo, and gives a clear picture about what secrets are hidden behind Egypt's doors. For generations, Egypt has been renowned for its ancient history and breathtaking monuments. But early this year, a revolution changed the way people look at a nation that is popular amongst tourists and historians. Now, there is another threat in the midst which involves the lives of animals at stake. Animals had been widely revered during the days of ancient Egypt, and just like people, they were also mummified and given proper burial. They even played an important role in the Egyptian mythology in the form gods and goddesses. These include the jackal-headed deity Anubis, the crocodile-headed Sobek, and the sky god Horus. Nowadays, however, it is very different. I sure hope that the remaining lives of animals at Giza Zoo will be saved, and all would be relocated to rehabilitation centers for proper care and treatment.

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