Egyptians call for meat boycott
Egyptians call for meat boycott
Saturday, April 17,2010 17:23
By Joseph Mayton
CAIRO: Three separate organizations are calling for a meat boycott in Egypt later this month in protest of rising costs. Two Facebook groups have been established and The Egyptian Chamber of Tourist Establishments (ECTE) have called on all food outlets and companies to boycott red meat on April 26.

It comes as the price of veal has risen to LE 85 ($16) per kilo and beef prices to LE 55 ($10) per kilo.

“One in every five Egyptians cannot meet their basic living needs, percent of ‘forced’ to work children in order to support their income … poor families are rising,” a statement on the “Boycott Meat in the Last Week of April” Facebook group said on their page.

According to the same group, 23 percent of children under 15-years-old are living in poverty, with wages less than $1 per day.

“We need to be effective, we need to have strong impact, in order to force prices down,” the group called on its supporters.

They are going one step further than the ECTE in calling for a week-long boycott.

According to the ECTE, the boycott means that participating outlets will not be serving meat on April 26. The maximum punishment according to the ECTE’s laws will be handed out to any place that sells meat, the organization said.

Another Facebook group Boycott Meat in Egypt asks whether Egyptians should face such price manipulation on meat.

“Let’s ask ourselves a very simple question, do we agree on this price increase and manipulation?” Diaa el-Din Beheiry asked on the group.

“Yes, THEN WE DESERVE IT. I.e. we should not complain if the prices keep going up more and more (which will happen), WHY because we agreed,” the statement continued. “No, THEN WE DESERVE IT.”

Ironically, the United Nations and other environmental organizations, in recent years, has said that the consumption of meat products is contributing 18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and deals a large blow to global climate change.

According to Jonathan Safron Foer’s Eating Animals book, vegans have nearly 10 times smaller environmental footprint than meat eaters.

But, Egyptians love their meat, said cafe owner Waguih Samaan, who advocates purchasing from “baladi” farmers in order to “not get involved with the factory farmers who are destroying too much of what it means to eat meat.”

For now, the battle is on to get prices cut, and with little to know vegetarian movement in Egypt, this is the next best thing, said Omar Hamdeen, an Egyptian-American vegetarian who believes people should stop making a fuss over the price of meat.

“There are a lot of other things we can eat and if the price gets too high, look for those things,” he said.

Republished with permission from Bikya Masr