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Middle East and North Africa Animal Crisis

Stray animal populations are rising exponentially in the Middle East and North Africa and countries are struggling to cope.

Hundreds of thousands of animals are suffering starvation, disease, abandonment and abuse. Their voices not being heard. Their habitats being removed.

Cats and dogs are generally categorised as ‘Pests’ and inhumane policies of ‘Trap and Kill’ continue to be used in failed attempts to control stray populations.

Many people wrongly assume that neutering of stray animals is forbidden in Islam.

In some countries, feeding a stray animal is illegalAnimal abuse and abandonment are generally not reported and animal rights laws not enforced.

Thousands of people across the region are trying to conduct small scale animal rescue efforts but they are ALL overwhelmed and lack local and national support.

1. Poor Public Awareness

The harsh reality of inaction exasperates the issue of stray cats across the region. Thousands are starving, multiplying and living in terrible conditions. 

The public are unaware of the crisis, under the impression that these animals can survive naturally. By contacting pest control, the public are in turn giving permission for these animals to be killed using inhumane methods. 

Many are unaware of the importance of neutering cats to prevent numbers rapidly increasing.  

An average cat has 1–8 kittens per litter, and 2–3 litters per year. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens.

A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years. (Source)

2. Fragile Habitats

Over years, construction and development have disrupted the natural habitat of cats and dogs. The resources they relied on have been severely limited. Natural food sources and water supplies are virtually non-existent and desperate animals struggle without access to the basics that their environment historically provided.

3. Trap and Kill Policies

Due to lack of knowledge about ‘Trap, Neuter, Release’ initiatives, many members of the public consider stray animals as pests and report them. Pest Control then trap the animals and kill them through inhumane methods or release them into places where food and water is unavailable, leading to a long and tortuous death..  

4. Pet Abandonment

Many people do not commit to the animal in their care. If they relocate homes or they have challenges caring for the animal, they abandon a family pet. These animals suffer terribly with catastrophic effect,  as they struggle to adapt to a life which is unknown. 

5. Breeding and Profiteering

Breeding causes painful and life-threatening defects. Tiny kittens are subject to a life in the breeding cycle whilst humans reap a financial reward. Breeders are not held accountable.

6. Unreported Abuse

Thousands of cats and dogs are subject to horrific abuse. Many people simply take no action because they feel their voice will not be heard, or not have a large enough impact and therefore they become a bystander. Others take no action out of fear of repercussions for themselves. Animas are maimed, tortured and even subject to sexual abuse whilst members of the public feel helpless.

7. Overwhelmed Rescue Groups

The ongoing horrific condition of stray and abandoned cats overwhelms rescue groups.

The number of cats needing help largely outnumbers those who are in a position to be able to help.  

Click here for a list of licensed rescue groups in the Middle East and North Africa. 

8. Unregulated Rescue Efforts

Well meaning members of the public often provide unregulated rescue efforts whilst working in a silo. Many groups disagree over the action to take but are all trying to achieve the same outcome. Without strategic government regulation and guidance, these groups fail to make lasting change.