Egypt starts slaughtering all pigs over swine fluApril 30th, 2009 - 4:10 am ICT by IANS
Cairo, April 30 (DPA) Egypt began slaughtering all pigs in the country Wednesday as a precaution against swine flu, although no cases have yet been reported in the country.
“It has been decided to slaughter all pigs in the country immediately,” Minister of Health Hatem al-Gabali said Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian parliament voted to slaughter the country’s entire pig livestock of around 250,000 animals in a precautionary measure.
Al-Gabali was quoted by the official Middle East News Agency as saying that all pigs will be examined to make sure they did not carry the virus before they are killed.
An awareness campaign will be launched through the local media and a committee will be established to follow up the virus.
The minister said that production of face masks will be increased to 100 million compared to the 2007 rate of 30 million.
“We have communicated with the Ministry of Tourism since last Saturday to give us a daily report on and watch closely all tourists, especially those coming from the countries that reported cases of the virus,” said al-Gabali, adding that they also increased the number of doctors stationed at the borders.
The Government’s decision came a few hours after the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, said in a symposium on the health scare Wednesday that swine flu is “more serious than the hydrogen bomb.”
The Brotherhood - which although banned is Egypt’s largest opposition bloc in parliament - voted for the cull, and said that the swine flu outbreak demonstrated the wisdom of the Islamic ban on pork.
“It is God’s grace in his Islamic Sharia to permit all that is good for us and to ban what is bad. We could understand the wisdom of the ban, or we could not understand it. But eventually time proves the truth of God’s words to us,” Sheikh al-Sayed Askar said at a Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored symposium on the virus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is safe to eat pig meat.
“Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs,” the organisation said on its website.
Israel is the sole country in the region hit by the virus. It reported two cases of the disease Wednesday. Both were tourists who had recently returned from Mexico.
Representatives of the World Health Organisation in Egypt on have stressed that the country was well-equipped to confront the virus because of its experience with the related avian flu virus.
Islam, the religion of 90 percent of Egypt’s 80 million citizens, forbids eating the flesh of pigs. In Cairo, poor Christian garbage-collectors raise pigs on food waste.
Speaking at the forum, Mohammed Seif, a professor at the University of Beni Suef, some 150 km south of Cairo, said he feared they could spread the virus.
“Garbage-collectors could multiply the spread of the virus because they raise pigs and enter most Egyptian homes,” he said.
The WHO confirmed 114 cases of swine flu around the world with 13 cases in Canada, 26 in Mexico, including seven deaths and 64 in the US which include one death.
- US finds first case of swine flu in pigs - Oct 20, 2009
- Mubarak trial demanded by protest victims' kin - Jun 25, 2011
- Egypt court approves country's first Islamic party - Feb 19, 2011
- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood forms party to contest elections - May 01, 2011
- Debate rages on name change for swine flu, WHO says no - Apr 29, 2009
- Muslim Brotherhood holds talks, Cairo crisis continues (Roundup) - Feb 06, 2011
- Patchy monitoring may have made swine flu go undetected in pigs - Jun 17, 2009
- Muslim Brotherhood in deal with military for big role in post-revolutionary Egypt? - Mar 25, 2011
- Delhi prepared for swine flu - Apr 10, 2012
- World held its breath as swine flu grew into pandemic (Flashback 2009) - Dec 30, 2009
- New president in Egypt: Implications for political Islam (Comment) - Jul 03, 2012
- '2009 swine flu pandemic won't return to Maharashtra' - Apr 04, 2012
- Egypt's VP Suleiman demonised Muslim Brotherhood as "bogeyman": Wikileaks - Feb 07, 2011
- Muslim Brotherhood only a minor player in Egyptian protests - Jan 31, 2011
- Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) - Apr 26, 2009
Tags: awareness campaign, cull, egyptian parliament, face masks, flu outbreak, hatem, health scare, hydrogen bomb, islamic sharia, middle east news, middle east news agency, minister of health, ministry of tourism, muslim brotherhood, muslim brotherhood egypt, opposition group, precautionary measure, swine flu, truth of god, world health organisation