This country's score has stayed the same since 2014.
Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering
This goal assesses whether animal sentience has been recognised in legislation and explores the core legislative protections granted to animals, such as the prohibition of animal cruelty.
Animal Sentience is formally recognised in legislation
Article 119 of Law No. 53 - The Law of Agriculture (1966) , refers to cruelty to animals stating that it is forbidden to exercise cruelty to animals. However, there appears to be no recognition in law of animal sentience, for example, there is no statement that refers to pain or suffering.
Currently legislation does not recognise that animals are sentient, nor does it explicitly acknowledge that animals feel pain and can suffer both physically and psychologically. The inclusion of a guarantee of humane protection of animals in the country’s constitution indicates that progress may be possible. There are also several NGOs campaigning to protect animals, for example, Brooke Hospital for Animals and the Society of Protecting Animal Rights in Egypt.
The Agricultural Code contains enforcement mechanisms for Article 119, in Articles 140 to 149. These mechanisms mostly consist of fines and imprisonment measures.
• Given the extensive body of scientific evidence proving that animals are sentient, the Government of Egypt is urged to recognise that all animals for whom there is scientific evidence – at a minimum, all vertebrates, cephalopods and decapods crustaceans – are sentient beings and to enshrine this principle into legislation. Recognising animals as sentient will underpin further animal welfare considerations.
Laws against causing animal suffering
The Agricultural Law (1966) provides that it is forbidden to exercise cruelty to animals. The law also requires that the Ministry of Agriculture shall specify, by decree, the cases to which this applies. However, the decree was not found at the time of writing.
Article 355 and 357 of the Egyptian Penal Code include criminal penalties for deliberately killing or poisoning some animals: a riding animal, a carrying beast, a towing beast, any other type of livestock, or any tame animal.
Legislation does not include provisions prohibiting causing suffering through failure to act.
Socio-cultural attitudes to animals in the country may present barriers to progress, because animal welfare is not regarded as an issue by the public. Poverty and a lack of education may also hinder progress.
The lack of serious penalties means that the legislative protections for animals that do exist are likely to be inadequate in terms of deterrent value.
•The Government of Egypt is encouraged to assign responsibility for animal welfare to a Government Ministry and to establish an Animal Welfare Committee to advise the Government on policy and animal welfare solutions. The Animal Welfare Committee should include representatives from animal welfare organisations.
Presence of animal welfare legislation
This goal explores animal protection laws in relation to various categories of animals, namely: farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research and wild animals.
Protecting animals used in farming
Articles 124 to 138 make provisions regarding the health of animals used in agriculture, which include quarantine procedures and mandates on vaccination, destruction of animals and meat products and other measures in relation to slaughter in abattoirs.
However, a translation of the Agricultural Law (1966) was not found at the time of writing, thus only a limited assessment of the law can be made for the Animal Protection Index.
Rearing - pigs
Rearing - broiler chickens
There is no policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of broiler chickens.
Resolution No. 560 (2006) , Ministerial Decree No. 906 (2008) and Ministerial Decree No. 1220 (2010) provide provisions for the establishment of poultry farms. However, a translation was not found at the time of writing and therefore the Decrees have been unable to be assessed for the Animal Protection Index.
Rearing - egg-laying hens
Resolution No. 560 (2006), Ministerial Decree No. 906 (2008) and Ministerial Decree No. 1220 (2010) provide provisions for the establishment of poultry farms. However, a translation was not found at the time of writing and therefore the Decrees have been unable to be assessed for the Animal Protection Index.
Rearing - dairy cattle and calves
Decree No. 33 of 1967 details procedures regarding the slaughter of diseased animals. However, a translation was not found at the time of writing therefore the Decree was unable to be assessed for the Animal Protection Index.
Resolution No. 1225 (2010) relates to the establishment of slaughterhouses. However, a translation was not found at the time of writing and therefore the Resolution is unable to be assessed for the Animal Protection Index.
The lack of animal welfare standards in the country has caused concern internationally and led to Australia ceasing exports in 2006. In 2013, evidence of extreme cruelty in two slaughterhouses receiving sheep from Australia was published causing concern in Australia and internationally. A report published in 2014 found that one of the two slaughterhouses had failed to apply international minimum standards.
There is no indication of human or financial resource dedicated specifically to animal welfare by the Ministry of Agriculture, which is the designated responsible authority for promoting the health and protection of animals.
The lack of recognition of the importance of animal welfare as an issue separate to those of animal health and disease control is a considerable barrier to progress.
The lack of government action on transport and slaughter legislation for farm animals despite a multi-year ban by the Australian government on the live export of sheep to Egypt, imposed because of animal cruelty concern, indicates that there are significant barriers to progress. In these circumstances even trade drivers secured no progress.
• The Government of Egypt is urged to ban the worst forms of confinement for farm animals. In particular, the use of farrowing crates, sow stalls, and cages should be banned. The stocking density of broiler chickens should also be reduced to a maximum of 30 kg/m2 or lower. Surgical operations, such as piglet mutilations and beak trimming for egg-laying hens, should not be performed except under anaesthesia and with analgesics.
• The Government of Egypt is urged to mandate the humane slaughter of all farm animals. Animals should be instantaneously rendered unconscious and insensible to pain and distress prior to slaughter. Today, there is growing consensus amongst religious authorities worldwide that pre-slaughter stunning is compatible with religious principles. Humane halal slaughter allows for the animal to be temporarily rendered unconscious via stunning prior to slaughter, as long as the animal's skull remains intact and the animal would regain consciousness in time should slaughter not occur. Therefore, animals should be unconscious before being bled, and no further processing should occur until irreversible loss of consciousness is confirmed. No animal should be forced to witness other animals being slaughtered as this is inherently distressing.
• Due to the significant animal welfare concerns associated with long distance transport, the Government of Egypt is strongly urged to ban the export of live animals for long distances (i.e. over eight hours) and replace it with a meat only trade. Long distance transport is inherently cruel as it involves chronic stress for all animals and for some species and modes of transport it may involve overpopulation, exhaustion, excess heat or cold, inadequate ventilation and/or access to food and water, leading to disease, pain, injury or death.
Protecting animals in captivity
Private keeping of wild animals
There were encouraging indications from a project at the government-owned Giza Zoo, which could be adapted given resources and political will to other government-owned zoos. Giza Zoo is the largest government zoo in Egypt and is the centre of the Egyptian Department of Zoos and Wildlife Services. Giza has been successful in working with an international NGO, Wild Welfare, in a bid to raise welfare standards at the zoo. However, this project was no longer running by the time of writing.
• The Government of Egypt is strongly encouraged to allocate human and financial resources to create an inspection unit in charge of verifying that welfare standards are respected where animals live in captive settings. Facilities where animals are kept captive should be regularly inspected, and the results of such inspections should be made public.
• The Government of Egypt is encouraged to develop a Positive List of species, specifying which animals can be kept as companion animals, based on clear criteria including animal welfare and other relevant concerns.
• The Government of Egypt is urged to fully ban fur farming. Fur farming is inherently cruel and causes pain, distress and suffering to animals.
Protecting companion animals
Care of companion animals
Article 124 of the Agricultural Code includes in its definition of animal ‘domestic animals and birds’, thus including these animals in provisions relating to disease control, quarantine procedures and disposal of diseased specimens.
There is no policy or legislation related specifically to companion animals. However, dog owners are required to license their dogs through their veterinarian.
As Egypt does not have strong basic animal protection legislation, it is difficult for issues such as protection of companion animals to be improved in the country.
The Government via the General Organisation for Veterinary Services, a body that falls under the Ministry of Agriculture, carries out systematic poisoning and shooting of stray dogs. Such methods are not in alignment with agreed international recommendations and good animal welfare practice.
The country has problems with stray dog and cat population management, which affects negatively the perception of animal protection nationally and internationally. In particular, one of the greatest constraints in Egypt is the failure to implement humane methods to address this issue. This does not appear to be a government priority.
Protecting animals used for draught and recreation
Animals used for entertainment
There are no laws regarding animal fights and reports suggest dog fighting takes place in Egypt.
There is no legislation to protect the welfare of performing animals, for example, circus animals or animals used for other recreational purposes. Concern has been expressed about the welfare of wild animals in circuses in the country.
This does not appear to be a government priority. Further barriers to progress include lack of access to affordable quality veterinary services for working horses, donkeys and mules. A lack of education and awareness and poverty of animal owners are further barriers to progress. Traditional medicine is often cheaper than modern medicine and may lead to animal suffering.
However, it should be noted that a number of NGOs are active in the country with respect to the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules. For example, the Brooke opened its first hospital dedicated to working horses and donkeys in 1934 and has programmes in 200 communities in seven regions: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Edfu, Alexandria, Mersa Matruh and the Nile Delta.
• The Government of Egypt is strongly encouraged to adopt specific legislation to address the welfare of working animals, including working equids, following the requirements of the OIE’s animal welfare standards. Working animals must be treated with consideration and must be given adequate shelter, exercise, care, food and water appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs. Any condition that may impair their welfare must be treated promptly and, affected animals must not be worked again until they are fit. They must not be overworked or overloaded, nor must they be forced to work through ill-treatment.
Protecting animals used in scientific research
• The Government of Egypt is encouraged to mandate the creation of ethics committees at all research facilities, in charge of scrutinising applications for animal research. Such ethics committees should be able to suspend the activities or revoke the registration of establishments which do not respect animal welfare criteria. Animals used for research should be provided with shelter, care, food and water in a manner appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs. A nominated member of the laboratory staff, preferably a veterinarian, must have full responsibility for animal welfare at all times.
• The Government of Egypt is strongly encouraged to create a national centre consisting of multiple stakeholders, including animal protection organisations, to promote the Three Rs principles and to develop alternatives to animal experimentation.
• The Government of Egypt is urged to ban the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals.
Protecting the welfare of wild animals
The Agriculture Law (1966) establishes that it is forbidden to hunt, trap, possess, transport or sell wild animals. However, there are no similar provisions for parts or products of wild animals. Article 117 nevertheless, specifies that the Ministry of Agriculture will specify by secondary legislation to which animals this prohibition applies and establishes that areas for hunting (including tourist hunting) are to be defined through secondary legislation. However, secondary legislation regarding hunting was not found at the time of writing. An almost identical provision appears in the Environmental Law (Law 4 of 1994).
There is evidence of Decrees being produced to protect certain species following mandates from one or other of these two laws. For instance, Decree No. 1403 (1990) protects certain reptiles and lizards from being killed or used for commercial purposes. Ministerial Decree No. 274 (2013) provides provisions regarding the hunting and export of frogs. However, a translation of these Decrees was not found at the time of writing.
Further legislation dealing with the protection of animals’ environments and of ecosystems can be found in Law No. 102 on Natural Protected Areas (1983). However, a translation was not found at the time of writing.
Egypt is party to a number of international conventions concerning wildlife and nature conservation including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and CITES.
The country’s most recent report to the Convention on Biological Diversity was submitted in 1998 and contained details of a wide range of activity concerning conservation of endangered species and protection of habitat.
Cairo is an acknowledged major wildlife trafficking centre owing to its geographic location between Africa and Europe.
There is evidence of human resource allocated to the implementation of this law, in the form of the Ministry of Agriculture. There are numerous reports indicating that hunting tourism and wildlife trafficking are undermining wildlife populations , which may indicate some cultural disengagement with protecting the welfare of animals in this category. This presents a barrier to improve the welfare of wild animals in the country.
• The Government of Egypt is encouraged to implement a standardised hunting permit license, which would be delivered after successful completion of a test by which applicants would be required to show their knowledge of hunting methods where animal suffering can be minimised. Hunters’ knowledge of individual wild animal species should also be assessed, so that their activities do not undermine conservation efforts.
• The Government of Egypt is encouraged to introduce anti-cruelty provisions for animals in the wild.
Establishment of supportive government bodies
This goal examines government commitment to animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government to protect animals.
Government accountability for animal welfare
The General Organisation for Veterinary Services (GOVS), a body associated with the Ministry of Agriculture has the mission to “to protect animals from infectious and epidemic diseases.”
Inclusion of a reference to the protection of animals in Egypt’s Constitution does not appear to have resulted in improvements in animal welfare legislation.
• The Government of Egypt is encouraged to create a multi-stakeholder committee to effectively engage all actors involved in maintaining animal well-being to find solutions for welfare concerns. This committee should guide the country’s policies and strategies on animal welfare, in line with international standards. This committee should include representatives of animal welfare organisations.
Support for international animal welfare standards
This goal looks at whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, and whether the Government is supportive of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
OIE animal welfare standards
The OIE animal welfare standards have yet to be transposed into legislation and policy in the country.
The desire to access more trade markets could provide some motivation for the country to develop legislation and policy so as to comply with good international animal welfare standards in particular with respect to farm animal welfare. However, the experience of the ban on live export of sheep from Australia to Egypt suggests that even with trade pressures there remain significant barriers to improvement.
Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
The Government of Egypt has not pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.
The Government has not expressed a desire to improve animal protection in the country through support for the UDAW.