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Jurisdictions Surveyed: Angola | Argentina | Botswana | Bulgaria | Cambodia | China | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Côte d’Ivoire | Egypt | Gabon | Georgia | Ghana | Greenland | Guyana | India | Indonesia | Kazakhstan | Liberia | Nepal | Pakistan | Russia | Thailand | Turkey | Vietnam
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Egypt

A wild animal market is located in an area called “Al-Saydah Aasha” in Cairo, Egypt. The market includes reptiles, wild mammals, and birds. Apparently, there is no formal veterinarian unit in the market that monitors the health condition of animals or any violations related to sanitation and cleanness of the market.

Law No. 53 of 1966 and Law No. 4 of 1994 prohibit the sale of wild animals, either dead or alive.

According to news reports, the sale of most of the wild animals found in the Al-Saydah Aasha Market is banned under the Egyptian law. The Egyptian police conduct frequent raids on the market to arrest violators and confiscate wild animals.

I. Introduction

A wild animals market is located in an area called “Al-Saydah Aasha” in Cairo, Egypt. The market is called the “Al-Saydah Aasha Market.” It is a street market that takes place once a week, every Friday. The market includes reptiles, wild mammals, and birds. The reptiles also include different types of snakes, such as the Egyptian cobra, Nile crocodiles, spiny-tailed lizards, monitor lizards, and iguanas. The mammals offered in the market include desert foxes and monkeys. Also, the market includes wild birds, such as eagles and owls.[1] Different types of bat are also sold in the market.[2] The animals are predominantly purchased as exotic pets.[3]

Sometimes, the meat of Nile crocodiles is used for human consumption.[4] The price of Nile crocodiles in the market ranges from 200-300 Egyptian pounds (about US$12-$18).[5] The prices of spiny-tailed and monitor lizards in the market ranges between 250-500 Egyptian pounds (about US$15-$31). Snake prices ranges between 800-40,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$49-$2,474).[6] Prices for monkeys start from 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$618). Eagle prices start from 800 Egyptian pounds (about US$50).[7] The price for desert foxes varies between 4,000-6,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$247-$371).[8]

II. Possession and Trade of Wild Animals

A. Law No. 53 of 1966

Law No. 53 of 1966 prohibits the trade and possession of wild animals, whether those animals are alive or dead.[9] Violators may be sanctioned by a fine of up to 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$618). Any tools used to sell, slaughter, or keep the wild animal will be also confiscated.[10]

B. M.R. No. 28 of 1967

Ministerial Resolution No. 28 of 1967 bans the hunting and possession of certain types of deer, lions, tigers, and leopards.[11]

C. Law No. 4 of 1994

Law No. 4 of 1994 and its executive regulation prohibit the sale of wild animals, either dead or alive, that are protected by international agreements and Ministerial Resolution No. 28 of 1967.[12] The Law sanctions violators with a fine of between 200-5,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$12-$309) and the confiscation of the wild animals as well as all tools used to keep those animals.[13]

III. Enforcement and Veterinary Care

A. Enforcement

According to news reports, the sale of the wild animals found in the Al-Saydah Aasha Market is banned under Egyptian law. The Egyptian police conduct frequent raids on the market to arrest violators and confiscate banned wild animals.[14] Additionally, not all animal traders in the market have a permit to deal with animals.[15]

In February 2016, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, the Egyptian police conducted a large-scale raid on the Al-Saydah Aasha Market. The raid resulted in the confiscation of a great number of wild animals, including fruit bats, Nile crocodiles, iguanas, and different types of monkeys.[16] Also, in April 2017, the police raided the market one more time to confiscate wild animals sold in the market and arrest individuals who were selling those animals without a permit.[17] The most recent police raid on the Al-Saydah Aasha Market took place in January 2020.

In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Governor of Cairo has decided to block all gatherings by shutting down all street markets. Accordingly, the Al-Saydah Aasha Market was shut down.[18]

B. Veterinary Care

Apparently, there is no formal veterinarian unit in the market that monitors the health condition of the animals and any violations related to sanitation and cleanness of the market.[19] However, there is a veterinarian who comes to the market on a voluntary basis. Customers pay him a fee to check the animals before purchasing them. However, this practice is not mandatory.[20]

IV. Islamic Prohibition on Eating Bushmeat

The Fatwa Commission at Al-Azhar University, the oldest Egyptian Islamic institution, issued a fatwa prohibiting the eating of bushmeat in 2018. The Commission based its legal ruling on one of the speeches of the prophet banning Muslims from eating all fanged beasts of prey and all birds having talons.[21]

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Prepared by George Sadek
Foreign Law Specialist
August 2020


[1] Abdullah Hisham, Banned and Rare Animals in the Al-Saydah Aasha Market, Al Dostor (Sept. 1, 2018), https://perma.cc/4CWV-FV7R (in Arabic).

[2] Hatem Musheer, Al-Saydah Aasha Market for Banned Animals Where Nile Crocodiles Have Appeared, Al Masry Al Youm (Feb. 6, 2016), https://perma.cc/7XLK-6XNA (in Arabic).

[3] Al-Saydah Aasha Market is a Destination for the Poor and the Rich. The Merchants in the Market Sell Monkeys and Snakes, Al Byan (Oct. 13, 2005), https://perma.cc/2QZ6-5QTQ (in Arabic).

[4] Minah Ashmawi & Lamya’a Mahmoud, The Religious Ruling on the Consumption of Crocodiles’ Meat, Al Watan News (Aug. 22, 2019), https://perma.cc/QMF7-8JWJ (in Arabic).

[5] Amel Alam, Strangest Photos for Egyptians Who Are Interested in Keeping Snakes, Lizards and Iguanas in Their Homes, Al Youm 7 (July 4, 2019), https://perma.cc/894P-DFK6 (in Arabic).

[6] Hisham, supra note 1.

[7] Duaa Aurabi, American Tourist Purchases an Eagle in Al-Saydah Aasha Market, Al Watan (Aug. 8, 2019),   https://perma.cc/6YCH-ZTNS (in Arabic).

[8] Ryham Al Iraqi, The Friday Market: “Mafia” Trading Banned Wild Animals and Birds, Al Masry Al Youm (Nov. 24, 2019), https://perma.cc/X3E5-6BQH (in Arabic).

[9] Law No. 53 of 1966, art. 117, Al-Jaridah Al-Rasmiyah, vol. 206, 10 Sept. 1966, https://perma.cc/ZD8F-RSGG (in Arabic).

[10] Id. art. 146.

[11] Ministerial Resolution No. 28 of 1967, Al Waqa’a Al Masryah, vol. 63, 2 May 1967, https://perma.cc/TYH2-LE5D (in Arabic).

[12] Law No. 4 of 1994, art. 28, Al-Jaridah Al-Rasmiyah, vol. 5, 3 Feb. 1994, https://perma.cc/T8XC-JLPB (in Arabic).

[13] Id. art. 84.

[14] Musheer, supra note 2.

[15]  Hisham, supra note 1.

[16] Indiana Khaled, The Ministry of Environment Confiscates Bats and Monkeys During a Raid on the Friday Market, Al Dostor (Feb. 19, 2016), https://perma.cc/5ETQ-GFVP (in Arabic).

[17] The Police of the Khalifa County Conduct a Raid Against the Sellers of Animals on Souk El Hamam  Street, Masr Anharda (Apr. 24, 2017), https://perma.cc/28MH-HY76 (in Arabic).

[18] Shutting Down the Hammam and Friday Markets in Al-Saydah Aasha, Masrawi (June 12, 2020), https://perma.cc/KZU6-2QRB (in Arabic).

[19] Duaa Al Aurabi, Violations Against Animals in theAl-Saydah Aasha Market, Al Watan (Aug. 10, 2019), https://perma.cc/4P8G-N2LG (in Arabic).

[20] Mohamed Galeb, A Veterinarian in the Al-Saydah Aasha Market, Al Watan (Oct. 12, 2015), https://perma.cc/FVY9-V6W7 (in Arabic).

[21] The Islamic Studies Authority: Eating Dog and Cat Meat is Forbidden under Islamic Law, Al Bawaba (Nov. 28, 2018), https://perma.cc/9N8E-XMUU (in Arabic).

Last Updated: 12/31/2020