Egypt: Visiting Birqash Camel Market

Two teams of Animals‘ Angels make their first visit to Birqash camel market in Egypt. The market is one of the biggest in the country and located north of Cairo. Camel traders and buyers from Egypt and other countries, e. g. Sudan, gather here for selling their animals.

It is early in the morning when we arrive at the market. The number of animals is overwhelming and we can hardly get an overview. Added to that is the traders’ loud yelling while herding the animals back and forth, the honking trucks, and all the dust.

At the road next to the market premise there are already numerous fully loaded trucks ready to leave. As we enter the premise, we see the first vehicles being unloaded. On one of them we spot Yusuf. His front legs are tied together and thus he cannot get up.  He tries to limp away from the noise and the stick beatings. Apparently, Yusuf is not the only one being exhausted from the long journey. The men around him are hectic and have no understanding of his situation. In a country ruled by distress and poverty there seems to be not time for compassion.

Thanks to our Arabic speaking colleague Ali from Morocco, we learn that many of the animals are from Sudan. They undergo long journeys to the market, starting on foot in Sudan until the border to Egypt. From then on, they are being transported on vehicles, sitting with their legs tied together. This part of the journey roughly takes another 30 hours without food, water or rest. On arrival, many camels are barely able to get up. To herd them off the vehicles, they are being yelled at and hit with sticks from all sides. Things must go quickly and thus the camels are totally overwhelmed. Added to that, the ramps are totally unacceptable. The gap between the ramp and the trucks is too wide so that some of the animals slip in there with their legs.

Today is the day of arrival for the animals. Tomorrow, when they will be brought to slaughterhouses or fattening farms, our team will be on site again.