A solution has been proposed to tackle the many animal problems that Egypt experiences, in particular the stray animal population problem. With more than 15 million stray dogs and cats, and the inhumane methods that have been used so far to tackle this increasing population, a group of Egyptian animal rights campaigners and lobbyists have created Share’ Aleef (A Tame Street), a political initiative aimed to create the first animal protection laws in the country as well as educate citizens and institutions about animal rights.
Currently, Article 45 of the Egyptian Constitution commits to “the prevention of cruelty to animals”. but the government has yet to introduce an independent Animal Welfare Act to better regulate and protect Egypt’s stray populations. As a consequence, Zeina Essam, Mohammed Ezzat and Hussein Hareedy, founded Share’ Aleef, which through governmental and non-governmental on-ground activities, and through digital outreach, they spread the animal rights cause through their social media platforms.
Essam said to Egyptian Streets: “I used to get distraught when I’d see any animal being abused, poisoned, or killed. They don’t deserve that. No being does. So, when I conducted surveys and started really digging as to why this happened, I realized it mainly has to do with the pre-existing misperceptions of people about animals. Like, how people think any dog has rabies, or, how any cat is aggressive. Ideas that really have no evidence behind them… For the past two or three years, there has been an increasing demand for animal rights laws, although there hadn’t been ones that took practical and legal steps of lobbying for it prior to us.”
Abdelmoneim Emam, Member of Parliament and President of the Justice Party proposed to Essam that before any law is passed Egypt’s society needed to understand that animal rights directly affect its well-being, environment, and the country’s sustainable development goals (the ecological triangle composed of animal rights, environment, and society). Therefore, the initiative became much more than a plant for preventing stray killings or changing the culture of strays, but it addressed how the mistreatment of animals, misuse of chemicals, and lack of awareness by a large portion of Egyptian society became detrimental to the environment. The team of Share’ Aleef’s has now helped draft a set of animal welfare laws that were presented by the MP himself during a parliamentary session. The draft laws tackle issues such as farm animals, lab animals, environmentally-related laws, and other animal-related issues. They have already passed the necessary 60 parliamentary votes to be discussed, and are currently being considered by the House of Representatives.