WARNING: contains distressing images.A Swiss animal welfare group has revealed disturbing footage of stray dogs being rounded up and shot in Morocco ahead of the country’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.FIFA officials are visiting the country in coming weeks to assess its suitability to hold the event.The shootings took place in Tamraght, a coastal resort in South-Western Morocco.
According to Brigitte Post, the head of the Swiss group Tierbotschafter, the reasons for the cull are obvious; the government wants to “clean up” to make a good impression ahead of the inspection by Fifa.Tierbotschafter say that the dogs are being illegally and indiscriminately shot despite an ongoing programme to neuter, vaccinate and tag stray dogs in the area.
This means that the population of stray dogs inTamraght will now be made up of an unknown number of possibly diseased and undocumented dogs rather than the neutered, vaccinated and tagged dogs, many of which have now been killed.The footage shows dogs being shot, dragged away and piled up on the streets.
Brigitte Post told The Daily Mail:
Since that night [last week Thursday] dozens of dogs from our castration and vaccination programme have been shot, injured or taken away in a lorry while still alive […] In a flagship project in and around Agadir, we castrated over a thousand dogs, vaccinated against rabies, tagged them with an ear tag and returned them to their territory.
A man who witnessed the shootings said:
I woke up to the sound of gunshots. Around 30 to 40 armed men started shooting dogs in the middle of the town, regardless of whether or not they were labelled with ear tags as vaccinated and neutered […] So we foreigners organised a rescue operation with the local population to accommodate as many dogs as possible in private homes.
According to this witness, anyone who tried to intervene or take pictures was threatened or arrested.A petition has been launched calling for a stop to the violent killing of strays in Morocco.