Animal Markets in Morocco
Agriculture, and in particular 'animal farming', is one of the most important economic pillars of Morocco. Nevertheless, there is no national animal protection law that at least guarantees the minimum requirements for the protection of 'farm' animals. Even today, the majority of all 'farm’ animals is traded and sold on so-called souks (weekly markets in towns and villages). The conditions for the animals and how they are treated are terrible. Animals' Angels has been there since 2014 to raise awareness and bring about change.
What are the Animals Suffering From?
In Morocco, most animals are kept by small farmers. Many rural families live with and from their animals, which they sell regularly at souks (weekly markets). There we always find the same serious animal welfare problems:
- Brutal and medieval slaughter methods.
- Animals tied together at their legs, necks or wings.
- Animals that are lifted and carried by their legs and fur.
- No water and food.
- No shade, despite high temperatures.
- Neglected, exhausted and dehydrated animals.
- Injured or sick animals are not cared for.
- Lack of infrastructure.
- Completely exhausted 'working' animals, such as donkeys and horses.
The transports at markets also reflect the catastrophic conditions:
- Absolutely unsuitable transport vehicles without loading ramps or ventilation.
- Cattle pulled onto double-decker transports without ramps.
- Sheep stowed on the roofs of vehicles or in trunks.
- Chickens transported upside down or in sacks.
- Very brutal handling during unloading and loading.
Animal welfare plays no role here – despite the fact that the Moroccan government gives top priority to agricultural development. To date, there is no animal welfare law in Morocco and no official inspections.
What Animals' Angels Does Against it
Since March 2014, we have been on site with a permanent project, and since summer 2015 our Moroccan team – consisting of Ali, Habib and Boubaker – regularly inspects the animal markets around Rabat. They raise awareness and provide first aid for the animals.
Animals' Angels is in constant contact with the Moroccan veterinary authority ONSSA regarding a joint animal welfare project at the markets. We have drafted animal welfare guidelines and translated them into Arabic in collaboration with ONSSA. We are now waiting for ONSSA's final approval to finally start distributing the guidelines.
- More awareness and respect for ‘farm’ animals.
- Putting the protection of 'farm' animals on the political agenda in Morocco.
- The long overdue adoption of a national animal welfare law that also includes and protects 'farm’ animals.
- Implement animal protection on Moroccan markets.
- Distribution of animal welfare guidelines for a better handling of 'farm’ at the markets.
- Educational work for traders and buyers, and first aid for the animals on the spot.