Mo Salah: Egypt footballer weighs in on cats and dogs row

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Mo Salah: Egypt footballer weighs in on cats and dogs row

Image copyright Mo Salah
Image caption The Liverpool striker posed alongside his pet Siamese cats

Football star Mo Salah has spoken out against plans in his home nation of Egypt to export stray animals abroad, amid fears they will be used for food.

"Cats and dogs will not be exported anywhere. This won't happen and can't happen," he tweeted, alongside images of his pet cats.

Animal rights activists reacted with anger over the decision, with many calling for the practice to end.

Stray cats and dogs are widespread in Egypt's streets.

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The row began after it was reported last week that Egypt's agriculture ministry had approved the exportation of about 4,000 cats and dogs abroad.

Last Wednesday, private Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm said the ministry had started issuing health certificates to begin the export process for about 2,400 cats and 1,600 dogs.

A day later, a ministry spokesperson told Egyptian TenTV channel that the animals had been vaccinated against diseases and would be flown out in accordance with legal procedures.

The authorities did not explain which countries they were being sent to, or for what purpose.

Liverpool and Egypt forward Salah, who enjoys widespread popularity in his home country and the wider Middle East region, entered the debate on Tuesday, tweeting with the hashtag "no to animal rights violations".

Skip Twitter post by @MoSalah

?? ??? ????? ????? ??????? ??? ????.. ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? #??_???????_????_????????? pic.twitter.com/9YHozXnqf7

— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) November 26, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @MoSalah

And many have applauded his input online.

Skip Twitter post by @radwa_rabie

Thanks for speaking up for the voiceless… animals in Egypt are in desperate need for loved public figures like you to raise awareness

— Radwa Rabie (@radwa_rabie) November 27, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @radwa_rabie

Some responded with images of their own pets, using the same hashtag:

Skip Twitter post by @emanserag

??? ?? ???????#??_???????_????_????????? pic.twitter.com/dKmfrYzTIM

— A Beautiful-Mess (@emanserag) November 27, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @emanserag

But others argued that Egyptians had bigger things to worry about, with one person suggesting: "Let's look at human rights first, then we can look into animal rights."

Image Copyright @karam_elzaeim @karam_elzaeim Report
Twitter post by @karam_elzaeim: ????? ? ???? ??????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ????????? Image Copyright @karam_elzaeim @karam_elzaeim Report

Meanwhile, some questioned the viewpoints of those who eat meat but have also joined the campaign against the export of animals:

Skip Twitter post by @thejessyndrome_

#??????_?????_??????_??????_??_??? seriously this shows how much of hypocrites we are. you guys eat meat…..

— Jess. (@thejessyndrome_) November 26, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @thejessyndrome_

Last month, politician Margaret Azir caused a stir when she suggested the authorities should fatten up stray dogs and export them abroad as a means to deal with the increasing numbers of strays on the streets of Egypt.

She told privately-owned newspaper Youm7 website that in some places, dogs were "as valuable as sheep".

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On Friday, the Egyptian authorities denied that the government itself would be exporting any animals – and said that they were only granting the licences for the controversial move.

Spokesman Hamed Abdel Dayem told al-Hadath al-Youm that reports the animals were being transported to countries that will eat them were "baseless".

However, another MP, Nadia Henry, has already submitted a request to parliament to draft a bill which would criminalise the export of dogs and cats.

With reporting from BBC Monitoring

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