Scapegoating in Egypt

The atrocities against pigs in Egypt has disproportionately affected the Christians who farmed them.

“Hundreds of pigs are dragged from their smallholder pens and dumped live and fully conscious into a huge dumper truck. Fighting to breathe, the animals writhe on top of each other. From a distance, the scene almost looks like a tin of maggots. Come closer, and the true horror is clear. The animals are then driven to mass graves where they are covered in caustic chemicals before being buried. Media reports tell of the pigs screaming at the pain of the chemicals for half hour or more before they are dead. This is the intended fate of all of Egypt’s 400,000 pigs.”

This is from Compassion in World Farming. There is a film (it is reputedly nearly unwatchable).

The CEO of CiWF says:

“Egypt’s mass pig kill is quite simply the worst atrocity to farm animals that I have ever seen.

What is so appalling is that it is as unnecessary as it is almost unimaginably cruel.”

If you eat pigs, you can still stand against the slow agonising death meted out to them by the Egyptian government. It might make you feel a bit confused about yourself, but you should do it, because you are a good deal like a pig. If you were piled under other humans you would feel the same blind terror; if your bones cracked under the weight, you’d hurt in the same way, you’d make a frenzied attempt to climb on the others in the same way; if you were doused in chemicals and left to die, your reactions would be very similar – and they wouldn’t be higher-order thoughts. You and I are a good deal like pigs.

The Egyptian government says it wants to clean up pig farming, and that the cull of a quarter of a million healthy pigs has nothing to do with swine flu. The timing says otherwise. Pigs’ name is dirt because of swine flu. These pigs are not unhealthy; they are being needlessly sacrificed. Why is not clear. Maybe, as mainly Christian pig farmers worry, it is simply because they are pigs, farmed by Christians in a Muslim country where the birds which are carrying a far deadlier strain of avian flu are permitted to live on. Maybe it’s to placate the ex-pat and tourist pig eaters who have lost confidence in eating pig. Anyway, it is needless. All of it. Eating pigs is needless, the cull is needless, the death by corrosive chemicals and crushing is needless. It’s an atrocity.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) comprising 170 of the world’s leading veterinarians, says that a cull is “pointless”. Today they released this limp statement:

“Paris, May 20 2009- The OIE already strongly advised on the pointless culling of pigs in relation with the recent outbreaks of novel A/H1N1 influenza. In its official statement issued on the 30 April 2009, the OIE advised its Members that the culling of pigs will not help to guard against public or animal health risks presented by this novel A/H1N1 influenza virus and that such action is not recommended.

However, some countries have decided to implement massive pig culling operations in this context, on the basis of the precaution principle. The OIE recalls that culling of animals should always be carried out in accordance with OIE international standards on killing methods for disease control purposes (Volume 1; Section 7; Chapter 7.6 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code; http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/en_chapitre_1.7.6.htm).”

Will you turn a blind eye? If you’re inclined to, then at least watch the film.

The Egyptian Ambassador to the UK is the person to email, and there’s a template letter (Word doc – 24.5kb).

More on the precarious existence of Coptic Christians – the Washington Post and the Middle East Pact.

This post is a mess.

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