In Morocco, especially in the northern part of the tourist town of Agadir, massive amounts of stray dogs have been shot in recent weeks. And that has to do with Morocco's candidacy for the 2026 Football World Cup, because - occasionally or not - a high delegation from FIFA Morocco visited this week to discuss the candidacy and the bid book.
It is not uncommon, especially in Islamic countries, that dogs, especially during important visits, are poisoned or "purified". Islam regards dogs as "haram" or unclean. In addition, certainly in Morocco, there are a huge number of cases of rabies. Every year, several people also die of the incurable disorder.
But the killing of the dogs in Agadir is certainly particularly unpleasant now. Because since 2014, with a really big beginning in 2016, the Swiss animal protection organization Tierbotschafter is working on a large castration and vaccination program, in which more than 1000 dogs have been helped in the meantime. All helped dogs also have an ear tag that they should protect against the pointless slaughter. However, a local employee from the Foundation said a few days ago that hunters, by order of the provincial government, had already killed hundreds of stray dogs, with and without eartags. Dogzine spoke with the president of Tierbotschafter, Brigitte Post.
"At the beginning of April I had a press release ready about the success of the project," says Brigitte Post. "We castrated 100 dogs in Agadit, together with local animal protection organizations. The city of Agadir has made money available for the project. And the project was also on the right track, but then the message came on April 6 that the hunters were on their way and the dogs were shooting. Local animal protectors report that it involves hundreds of dogs. "
The castration and vaccination project in Agadir is unique, and the first of its kind in Morocco. After a pilot in Taghazout, a beach town near Agadir where 43 dogs were helped, the municipality Agadir saw the benefits of this approach. Agadir was also happy with the program, and the collaboration between the city council of Agadir and Tierbotschafter is particularly good. The killing approach hardly worked, because where dogs are taken away, new dogs come in their place, because there is food and water. The holding capacity principle, a certain area can accommodate a certain number of dogs or cats. The city of Agadir saw this and went along with the approach. So much so that there is interest from other cities such as Rabat to give the project a chance.
But the region, the provincial government, therefore thinks differently, and shoots all dogs, including the dogs with eartags. A very temporary solution, because where castrated dogs are taken away, shot dead, intact, sometimes rabies infected dogs return. However, the regional government thinks in short-term solutions, even earlier, during a visit by the Moroccan king, dogs were fired en masse, and now that there is a chance to get the World Championships football the same technique is applied again. Several sources in Agadir have told Tierbotschafter that the killings are intended to show the FIFA bosses in Morocco on 17 and 18 April a "clean" city. Not everyone is against dogs, but "These dog enemies always find reasons to finish dogs, especially in a Muslim country where dogs already have a bad position anyway" says Brigitte Post. "Cats are tolerated in Muslim areas, but dogs are unclean. There are conservative forces there that also do not want the program to be a success, it is and remains difficult there. "
"We could of course have said that we leave it, and leave it to the city. But the program is so important to make it clear that people can see that there are plenty of dogs that do not transmit rabies, which are protected. Even the Ministry of the Interior was full of praise for the program, and wants to roll it out all over Morocco. Requests from all regions already received information. "
And then the mass slaughter. A damper for the organization, where the only bright spot is that the program is now becoming more widely known. Because the Moroccan media are reporting about it now that the regional government seems to have issued a death sentence. "The city of Agadir has really started an example program, and has given money for it. It is purely the regional government that works against it. "
FIFA is still silent at the moment, only against a Swiss newspaper, the world football organization said that FIFA in no way approves the cruel treatment of wild and roaming animals. But, because Morocco is a candidate for 2026, FIFA can not make a statement about that specific situation.
Dogzine has asked FIFA and the municipality of Agadir for comments. Until today we have not heard from both organizations.