News ID: 113223
Publish Date : 11 March 2023 - 21:43

Calls for Eating Donkey, Horse Meat as Food Prices Soar in Egypt Prompt Anger

CAIRO (Middle East Eye) – An Egyptian pro-government talk show host has prompted angry reactions since his statement that encouraged cash-strapped citizens to eat horse and donkey meats, which he claimed are “very healthy”.
“Why don’t we eat donkey and horse meats? They are sold and eaten in many countries,” Tamer Amin, the host of the Akher al-Nahar (Arabic for late afternoon) show on the local al-Nahar television channel, said.
“Horse meat is very healthy and safe, and I believe it is not religiously forbidden,” he added, a day before Egypt’s statistics agency announced that urban consumer inflation has shot to a five-and-a-half-year high, reaching 31.9 percent.
The comments have been criticized by religious scholars, who emphasized that donkey and horse meats are “haram” or proscribed by Islamic law.
The prices of food and basic commodities, mostly imported, have more than doubled since the Egyptian pound was devalued at the beginning of this year.
This came after the International Monetary Fund approved a bailout with Cairo in December, the third deal since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in a 2013 military coup.
The value of the Egyptian pound against the U.S. dollar dropped from seven EGP in 2013 to just above 30 EGP at the time of publication.
A shift to a flexible exchange rate regime is among the main conditions of the international lender to reduce inflation and consolidate the country’s spiraling debts.
Prior to the deal and the devaluation, Egypt had already been reeling from the dual impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic on the import-dependent economy.
But the fiscal measures have had immediate effects on the majority of Egypt’s 104 million population, with an estimated 60 million people living below or just above the poverty line ($3.20 per day) before the current crisis.
The government last week also raised gasoline prices by around 10 percent to fulfill requirements of subsequent IMF deals to bring fuel prices in line with changes in global oil prices.
Amin’s remarks are reminiscent of a call earlier this year by the National Institute for Nutrition for people to switch to eating chicken feet, as a good and cheap source of protein instead of the rest of the chicken. The suggestion has since provoked backlash and ridicule, as chicken feet are not popular in Egyptian cuisine. They are usually thrown away or sold to factories that process chicken products.