Help Moroccan animal welfare orga­ni­sation stop the killing of dogs

10 מאי 2023

A large group of Moroccan animal welfare organisations has united to stop the killing of stray dogs in their country and, in doing so, protect human health as well. In 2019, Moroccan authorities committed themselves to put a halt to the culling of stray dogs and invest in the TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release) programme, which is proven to be the most effective and ethical method to manage the stray dog population. However, in practice, stray dogs are still being brutally shot, poisoned or left to die of starvation. Animal welfare organisations are now calling on the Moroccan government to take immediate action. Citizens worldwide can help by signing the petition against the killing of dogs. Salima Kadaoui, president of SFT Animal Sanctuary in Tangier and one of the people involved with the action, stressed: “It’s important to treat all living beings with care, compassion and humanity. The world is watching us. Let’s be the role model country.”

More and more Moroccan citizens and activists are calling for action to protect stray dogs in Morocco. Videos and pictures showing stray dogs being poisoned, locked up and left without food and water, or being forced to feed themselves on the rotten flesh of other dogs have been circulating on the internet. The videos also show violent methods used by various organisations to pick up stray dogs from the streets. There are even reports of cats and dogs being burned alive.

Various animal welfare organisations in Morocco have been trying to change the situation for years. “The killing of stray animals is doing considerable harm to our country, to our tourist industry and the image of Morocco as a modern country. These barbaric practices are, moreover, totally ineffective in controlling the canine and feline population. Studies by the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirm that any reduction in these populations by killing is quickly offset by an increased reproduction and survival rate. In other words, when dogs are killed in a certain territory, the life expectancy of the survivors increases, because they have better access to resources. Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release (TNVR) is the only reliable and proven method to protect all the citizens of Morocco.”

Several few years ago, Moroccan authorities had already acknowledged that a different approach is needed. In 2017, the Municipality of the Tangier said it would invest in humane and effective means to control the municipality’s stray animal population by collaborating on a TNVR programme with an experienced local animal welfare organisation. The King of Morocco also expressed his support for the humane treatment of strays. However, these promises are not being kept. Often stray population management is delegated to unprofessional and inexperienced organisations, which leads to cruelty and the ineffective spending of money. That is why Moroccan animal welfare organisations are calling on the Moroccan government to stop cooperating with unreliable organisations, and involve professional and experienced animal welfare organisations through the TNVR programme.

The call is supported by the Animal Politics Foundation and the Dutch political Party for the Animals, represented in the Dutch and European Parliament. The party’s Member of Parliament Christine Teunissen visited Morocco in 2018 to support animal welfare and raise compassion throughout the country.

Party for the Animals’ visit to the SFT Animal Sanctuary in Morocco in 2018, with Dutch MP Christine Teunissen.

A safer country for dogs is a safer country for humans: sign the petition
Moroccan animal welfare organisations urge everyone to sign the petition against the killing of dogs. If the petition gets 50,000 signatures, the issue will be debated in the Moroccan Parliament. This will be of benefit not only to animal welfare, but also to the well-being of humans. Capturing and killing stray animals throughout the country, including those that have already been neutered, vaccinated and identified, is also a danger to human health and well-being. Morocco has been struggling with zoonotic diseases such as rabies for years, but eradicating these is difficult because the government has been using the ineffective method of killing strays for decades. Instead, investing in vaccination, neutering and rereleasing the dogs to their territories would effectively help erase diseases such as rabies and protect public health.

Animal welfare organisations also point out that the children who witness the violent capturing and killing of dogs are traumatised by these scenes. They are calling on Moroccan authorities to comply with Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the rights and protection of children and vulnerable members of society against the psychological impact caused by violence against stray animals.

“Stopping the violence would undoubtedly contribute to developing empathy not only towards animals but also among humans. It would contribute to a fairer, more ethical, more inclusive society that would better protect the physical and mental health of each citizen. Let's take up this challenge together and initiate positive change. Morocco has the capacity and the means to make a positive impact on the lives of our people and animals”, the animal welfare organisations conclude.