For years Animal Welfare people in Egypt have been warning against the use of strychnine in the poisoning of strays by the General Authority for Veterinary Services. The warnings all concentrated on the extreme danger this method poses to people in general and to the environment. The Vet Authority has ignored these appeals and to this day is still using strychnine poison to get rid of strays.
Yesterday, just around sundown, a new poisoning campaign started in one of Cairo’s suburbs. The community of AW people was alerted and the young people rushed there to try to stop it. The first to arrive was Sanaa, a young girl who loves animals. She was met by a horrific sight. The Veterinary doctor assigned to distribute the poisoned chicken was trying to lure a dog that was obviously had just given birth and was still feeding her puppies. Sanaa immediately intervened, shooed the dog away, thus saving her life and that of the puppies, then started frantically searching for and collecting the poisoned pieces of chicken. She had no surgical gloves so she was hurriedly picking them up by hand. She had nothing to carry them in, so she dumped them in the tail end of her blouse.
Strychnine is a poison that can affect its victim through being digested or inhaled or through the skin. It is a poison that is universally banned for the extreme pain that it causes. Yet the Veterinary Authority still uses it.
Very soon Sanaa started feeling the effects of the poison as it seeped through the pores of the skin of her hands, and she also inhaled some of it.
Soon after she started feeling sick and was quickly hospitalised. She is now in the Intensive Care Unit being treated and we hope she makes it.
We really don’t know what it would take for the General Authority for Veterinary Services to be convinced that the use of strychnine poison is a bad idea and to desist. I hope it does not take the life of one young, brave animal lover to bring them to their senses and realise that this poison is banned internationally for a reason.