The decision by the Egyptian government to cull the nation’s pig population has brought out the critics. The government ordered the slaughter of the pigs on Wednesday saying that it would stop panic about the swine flu in the largely Muslim country.
The United Nations has repeatedly told the world’s population eating properly prepared pork is not a way of getting the swine flu.
Joseph Domenech, the chief veterinary officer for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has called the cull “a real mistake.”
The Egyptian government is now saying that the swine cull was not because of the swine flu.
Medical News Today reports:
“The authorities took advantage of the situation to resolve the question of disorderly pig rearing in Egypt,” health ministry spokesman Abdelrahman Shahine told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The World Health Organization’s move to put the pandemic alert to phase 5 confirms that the situation is not a pig problem but a human problem, he added. The government is calling the decision a “general health measure” rather than a measure to fight swine flu.
Most of Egypt’s swine population has been raised by Christian farmers who are saying that the government pledges of compensation of $105 per animal were inadequate. Ten per cent of Egyptians are Coptic Christians. The majority of those live in Cairo slums where their pigs feed on garbage. The majority of Egyptians are Muslims who do not eat pork for religious reasons.
Medical News Today reports:
Saber Abdel Aziz Galal told AFP that the government wants to restructure pig farming so that it takes place on “good farms, not on rubbish”. At the moment the pigs live with “dogs, cats, rats, poultry and humans, all in the same area with rubbish,” he said, explaining that the government wants to build new farms in special areas, like they have in Europe.
“Within two years the pigs will return, but we need first to build new farms,” he said.
The government is attempting to speed up the culling process by importing three machines to accelerate the slaughters Almasry Alyoum daily said on Sunday.
“We will import three new slaughtering machines to increase the capacity to 3,000 pigs a day,” said Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Amin Abbaza in a statement.
The actual culling started on Saturday. The country plans to have slaughtered all the swine within six months. Egypt is facing a large problem on what to do with the culled meat. There are not enough factories to contain the pork.
Al Jazeera reports:
“Our pigs are healthy. They are our capital and they have no diseases,” Adel Ishak, a rubbish collector from Manshiet Nasser, northeast of Cairo, told the AFP news agency.
“How will they replace the capital if these pigs are killed?”
Police are guarding areas that have large pig farms to stop farmers from smuggling their pigs out.
On Sunday pig farmers and police clashed in Manshiyet Nasser, a shanty district east of Cairo, because of the pig cull.
“About 5,000 pig farmers clashed with the police forces in Manshiyet Nasser shantytown on Sunday as the government wants to cull all the pigs in Egypt,” Atta, a pig rearer on the scene, said.
“There are about 30 police cars, and about 1,000 policemen who started to fire tear gas towards us,” Samir Kamel, another pig rearer on the scene said.
“The still going-on clashes came because the government refused to compensate the rearers,” Samir added.
“About 12 protests got minor injuries,” he added.