Has Egypt just started exporting stray dogs and cats to South Korea?

For years Egypt has exported cotton, grain and natural gas. Now, it appears, the country will be exporting cats and dogs, too.

On Wednesday, the Egyptian agriculture ministry confirmed that it had recently licensed the export of 4,100 cats and dogs to a number of countries. The news has been met with grave concern by animal rights activists, who say they are worried that the creatures will be sent to countries where they may be eaten and mistreated.

In September and October, licenses to export 2,400 cats and 1,700 dogs from different breeds were granted, according to the General Authority for Veterinary Services (GAVS).

The GAVS said it was done in accordance with international regulations governing the exporting of animals, including making sure they are free from any diseases.

This is the first time Egypt has exported dogs and cats, according to Hamed Abdeldayem, an agriculture ministry spokesman.

The dogs and cats were mainly “taken from the streets” but have been vaccinated and given a medical certificate from the Animal Health Institute saying they are free from any disease, before being exported, Abdeldayem said.

Abdeldayem could not say which countries the animals were going to be exported to, but said there were no particular conditions in place to decide their destination.

Dog food?

Officials have not given specific reasons why the animals were now being exported, though Egypt has long complained of the number of stray dogs and cats in the country. Last month, a study reported that as many as 22 million stray dogs were on the loose in Egypt.

Though authorities have not disclosed the cats and dogs’s destinations, many Egyptians have assumed they would be sent to countries with a poor animal rights records and a reputation for eating them.

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