Egypt: Top Islamic authorities urge mercy towards animals



The letter below, by Ahmed El Sherbiny, gives a description of the workshop held recently in Cairo, “Ending the Animal’s Life in a Merciful Way.”


This is a controversial topic, and there can be a tendency among animal people simply to dismiss the issue by saying that the only real answer is not to slaughter animals in the first place. While this answer is certainly logical, and in a way true, it really does nothing to help the animals that are being slaughtered in countries where eating meat is not going to stop anytime in the near future.


Mona Khalil, Chairperson of ESMA
Mona Khalil, Chairperson of ESMA (Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals)


For the cow, the sheep, the camel, or for any animal in a slaughterhouse, there is a very vast difference between a merciful death and an extremely painful one. The practical reality is that there are degrees of suffering – and less suffering, while it is in no way a satisfactory long-term solution – is, for the animal, vastly preferably to severe suffering.


Dina Zulficar, leading Egyptian animal advocate
Dina Zulficar, leading Egyptian animal advocate


So we need to be practical and advocate doing what is best for the animals themselves. Contrary to what is sometimes said, pursuing the goal of lessening suffering in slaughterhouses ought not to lead to complacency, instead it can raise awareness of the sad plight of animals used for food — and ultimately encourage a global movement away from the culture of eating meat. Both these goals need to happen simultaneously. They are complementary and not in conflict with each other.


Ahmed El Sherbiny, Chairperson of ESAF, EFAW, and MENAW, has once again, in a continuation of work initiated over the past several years, brought together Egyptian animal advocates and an outstanding array of Egyptian government officials, Moslem spiritual authorities, leaders in the international animal welfare movement, veterinarians, university professors, and others, to focus their attention on bringing significant change to the way animals are slaughtered.


croppedPic 7Dr Leopoldo, The OIE representatve presenting a presentation on Halal pre Slaughter.
Dr. Leopoldo, OIE representative, giving a presentation on Halal pre-slaughter


The Al Azhar center of learning in Cairo is the most universally respected and authoritative voice for the world’s Sunni Moslems. Al Azhar representatives attended the workshop, participated, and have endorsed the outcome. This represents a tremendous milestone, re-affirming the age-old Islamic tradition of mercy and compassion to all, both animals and people.


Pic 6


Letter from Ahmed El Sherbiny, organizer of the workshop, “Ending the Animal’s Life in a Merciful Way.”:


Dear Friends and Colleagues,


On Wednesday 24th of September, EFAW, The Egyptian Federation for Animal Welfare in association with ESAF, The Egyptian Society of Animal Friends held a workshop relating to “Ending The Animal’s Life in A Merciful Way.” The workshop was sponsored by the Al Azhar Institution, who assigned; Dr Nasser Farid Wasel, The Former Grand Mofty, and Dr. Abdullah El Nagar, the Dean of High Islamic studies, Member of Islamic Research League, Member of the International Fiqh Academy- Jeddah and Sheikh Fawzy El Zefzaf, the former Deputy of the Al Azhar Grand Sheikh.


Unfortunately, HRH Princess Alia Al Hussein did not attend due to security reasons, however she sent her best wishes for the workshop’s success.


Also Dr. Naser Farid, The Former Grand Mofty, was not able to participate due to medical reasons, Dr A. Nagar presented his message to the workshop.


The workshop was also attended by representatives of GOVS, The Egyptian Federation for Animal Welfare, Representatives from OIE, The International Health Organization, FAO, The Food and Agriculture Organization, CIWF, Compassion in World Farming, MLA,  liveCorp, NRC, National Research Centre and Individuals from Animal Welfare Activists, Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University and Veterinary Colleges, Cairo University.


A Lively debate took place and many issues were discussed relating to the Halal slaughter and stunning methods.


The Al Azhar representatives approved and endorsed the outcome of the workshop, this means the outcome carries religious weight to all Muslims all over the world.


We wish to apply these recommendations in the Islamic World slaughterhouses before the Sacrificing Muslim Feast to end the pre- slaughter cruelty to sacrificial animals.


Many thanks to MLA and LiveCorp for sponsoring this workshop.


Ahmed El Sherbiny

Attorney at Law

ESAF chairperson

EFAW chairperson

Menaw chairperson

+2 012 22111162

Cairo, Egypt



Top photo: © Charles Mccarthy /


Other photos: Courtesy of ESAF


We hope to have available the workshop’s recommendations and conclusions soon, and will post them when we do.


To visit ESAF’s Facebook page, click here.




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