Local government in Morocco uses humane means to control stray animal popu­lation

16 January 2018

The council of the municipality of Tangier in the north of Morocco will start investing in humane and effective means to control the municipality’s stray animal population. This concerns an integral package, including vaccination, neutering and identification. Tangier will be cooperating with local organisation and sanctuary for stray animals “Sanctuaire de la faune de Tanger” (SFT). This year, SFT will receive a financial support of 27,000 euros.

Founder of SFT working with local communities

This cooperation was unanimously approved and, according to the municipality of Tangier, aims to ensure the health and safety of the citizens. The Tangier mayor Mohamed Bachir Abdellaoui stresses that the initiative is also intended as a humane solution to the large stray animal population in Tangier. In this way, the municipality demonstrates that it takes its obligations with respect to the protection of animal rights seriously. It is estimated that there are currently 2 million stray dogs living in Morocco. Often, they are considered a threat, abused or killed. After Agadir, Tangier is the second municipality in Morocco making funds available for a humane approach to the animal stray population.

SFT intends to neuter and provide medical care to stray animals in the municipality of Tangier, and work with the Moroccan National Food Security Authority (ONSSA) and the local health service to launch vaccination campaigns against rabies. Animals that have been vaccinated and neutered are identified, e.g. by an ear tag, so that citizens and authorities know these animals do not constitute a danger. In addition to its financial support, the municipality has also promised not to kill any stray animals identified by SFT.

Party for the Animals’ visit to SFT

Last year, Party for the Animals’ senator Christine Teunissen visited Tangier and SFT, and she was very impressed with the work done by the organisation as well as with its founder, Salima (Sally) Kadaoui. For years, Kadaoui has been selflessly dedicating herself and her organisation to the welfare of stray animals in Tangier. A few years back, she started her so-called “Hayat” programme. Hayat means (preservation of) ’life’ and the programme involves the medical treatment, vaccination, neutering and identification of strays.

What makes the Hayat project even more interesting is that it involves and educates local communities. SFT uses Hayat to show local citizens that stray dogs can be great neighbourhood watch dogs and friends. SFT also assists poor families in taking care of their animals, by providing them with food and medical care. Kadaoui: “Our wish is to spread love and compassion. Every creature deserves life and respect. We educate and involve the local community, because this concerns us all. The only way to make progress is by working together.”

Local citizens befriend stray dogs

Until now, this work has been possible mainly by donations from around the world and by the organisation’s volunteers. Kadaoui is pleased that the local government now understands the value of a humane approach. “This is marvellous news for both animals and people. All our supporters and donors are heroes, and we are very happy with the local government’s stated support. However, we still need more donations, as it is uncertain when we will receive the grant, and we have to treat all stray animals as soon as possible to prevent them from being killed.”

Kadaoui posts a daily update on the SFT’s work on Facebook and the website.