Egypt: Swine Destruction Threatens Coptic-Run Industry
by Charles Cherry
CAIRO, Egypt, May 5 (Compass Direct News) – Authorities yesterday pressed ahead with the slaughter of Egypt’s pigs – crippling the livelihood of thousands of swine breeders, nearly all Coptic Christians – in spite of World Health Organization (WHO) criticism that the measure was unnecessary for fighting the A(H1-N1) flu strain. No cases of the so-called “swine flu” have been reported in Egypt, but the government last week ordered the slaughter of the country’s pigs as a precautionary measure, which Copts saw as an attack on the minority Christian population. After WHO criticized the move as unnecessary, the government rebranded the slaughter as “a general public health measure.” Egyptian human rights lawyer Nadia Tawfiq told Compass the pig slaughter was a form of attack on Christians. “All of that business is Christian,” she said. “You know that for Muslims, the devil is in the pig.” Confusion over proposed compensation for the slaughtered swine was compounded by the sentiment that any amount would not equal the sustained livelihood that breeding pigs provides.