Animal champion Mo Salah condemns pet export reports (Image: Mo Salah/Twitter)
The Liverpool striker and last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner spoke out on social media, posting a picture of his own pet Siamese cats to underline his strong views.
“Cats and dogs will not be exported anywhere. This won't happen and can't happen,” he said on Twitter.
Egyptian international superstar Salah spoke out after recent reports that his country’s agriculture department was cracking down on stray animals on the nation’s streets by exporting 4,000 cats and dogs overseas.
Dozens of people are being killed across the country in attacks by packs of wild dogs, with almost one death reported weekly.
According to one Egyptian newspaper, health certificates are being prepared to export 2,400 cats and 1,600 dogs overseas, although no destination has been identified nor any purpose for their shipment.
The BBC has reported how one Egyptian politician had earlier caused consternation by suggesting strays should be fattened up so they could be sent to countries where they are “as valuable as sheep”.
Cat lover Mo Salah with prize Siamese (Image: Mo Salah/Twitter)
Egypt has major stray dog problem (Image: GETTY)
Egyptian officials are denying the Government itself would be shipping the animals and say reports of them going to countries where cats and dogs are eaten is “baseless”, although politicians are now calling for laws to criminalise the exports of pets.
Animal welfare charity Humane Society International said today it has written to the British Ambassador in Cairo along with the United States Chargé d’Affaires to seek official clarification on the issue, even though the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture is refuting claims that export licences have been approved.
The charity also applauded Mo Salah.
HSI Director of International Media Wendy Higgins said: “We welcome the compassionate message from Liverpool footballer Mo Salah stating his strong opposition to any such export, and we hope that the Egyptian government issues a clear official assurance that dogs and cats in Egypt will never be subjected to such treatment.
Football champion and animal champion Mo Salah collects award from Jordan Henderson (Image: GETTY)
“Undoubtedly Egypt faces the challenge of street dog overpopulation, but shipping animals to other countries where they may become victims of the dog and cat meat trade or other abuses is neither a humane nor sustainable solution.
“Countries like China and South Korea where dog meat is eaten by some parts of the population, would already consider themselves to have a surplus of dogs, or are seeing dog meat eating on the decline and would not be looking to import dogs from Egypt or elsewhere.
“So on both a moral and practical level, this export plan appears to be way off the mark and we hope to receive official confirmation that it’s fallacious.”