Friday, May 26, 2006

Animal Smuggling from Iraq to Iran on the Rise

You can imagine the hell these animals endure when stolen and forced across a boarder. Sick stuff.


Animal smuggling on rise

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2006


So many animals are being smuggled from southern Iraq into Iran that the price of meat has doubled, spurring officials in the southern governorate of Missan to call for tough anti-smuggling measures.

'We'll lose our animal resources within the next two or three years unless the government imposes tough measures and punishes smugglers,' Dr Abdullah Hussein of the Missan Veterinary Hospital said in remarks published in an IRIN report.

According to Dr Juma'a Sharhan Mohamed, director of the Missan agriculture and animal research centre, the governorate has lost some 60 per cent of its animal resources since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq due to smuggling, mostly to Iran.

'We've lost 20 per cent of our cattle, 30 per cent of our sheep and 10 per cent of our goats,' said Mohamed, who added that these animals were highly prized in neighbouring countries for their traditionally low prices and high caloric value.

Yashber Rahim Rajab, a butcher in Missan, said rampant smuggling had served to double the price of these commodities.

'We were paying about $350 per cow, but now these are worth around $700,' said Rajab.

'And prices for sheep have increased from about $75 to about $200,' Rajab said in the IRIN news service report.

Locals, meanwhile, complain bitterly that the trend has made meat prohibitively expensive. 'It's about ID10,000 [about $7] per kilo of beef, and I can't afford that,' said Hammad Ali, a school guard.

According to Dr Sabah Ali of the local health directorate, however, the current lack of red meat will not seriously impact the health of residents, given the plentiful supply of alternate sources of protein such as fish, chicken and birds.

Border officials, meanwhile, say they need more resources to stem the smuggling.

'We can't secure the entire border 24 hours a day,' said one border officer.

'Some of these gangs have more weapons than we do, which makes it difficult to confront them.'

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