Further evidence that the wholly unnecessary Egyptian order to eliminate the country of all swine is based on assuaging Muslim paranoia regarding “unclean pigs” at the expense of creating (more) economic hardships for Christians. More on this story. “Egyptian Christians riot after swine flu cull,” by Philippe Naughton for the Times Online, April 29:
Egyptian leaders ordered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of pigs today to help protect against swine flu, prompting angry protests from the poor Christian farmers who feed their animals with a country’s food scraps. The decision was also criticised as a “real mistake” by a senior UN food expert.
The Arab world’s most populous nation has been been badly hit by the H5N1 bird flu virus in recent years and the move to cull up to 400,000 pigs – seen by Muslims as unclean animals – was designed to calm fears of an impending pandemic.
But it left Egypt’s large Coptic Christian minority up in arms, especially the slum-dwelling “Zebaleen” rubbish collectors who rely on the hogs for their livelihood. Scores of them blocked the streets and stoned the vehicles of Health Ministry workers as they arrived to carry out the government’s order at pig farms on the outskirts of Cario this afternoon.
“Our pigs are healthy. They are our capital and they have no diseases,” said Adel Ishak, who feeds his pigs from the rubbish he collects in Manshiet Nasser, northeast of Cairo.
“We remind Hosni Mubarak that we are all Egyptians. Where does he want us to go?” added 46-year-old Gergis Faris, another pig farmer. “We are uneducated people, just living day by day and trying to make a living, and now if our pigs are taken from us without compensation, how are we supposed to live?”[…]
Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary office with the UN Food and Agriculture Officer in Rome, said the Egyptian order was “a real mistake”.
“There is no reason to do that. It’s not a swine influenza, it’s a human influenza,” he said.