Egyptian footballer Mo Salah has tweeted his support for Egypt’s stray animal population, as reports surfaced of the government issuing permits to transport thousands of animals abroad.
Egyptian news sources reported a decision from the country’s agriculture ministry to license 1,600 dogs and 2,400 cats for export from the country for an unknown destination, sparking speculation and condemnation from abroad and at home.
As debate continued to rage, an unexpected supporter joined the campaign to save Egypt’s stray animals - Liverpool star footballer Mo Salah.
The 26 year old weighed in on the issue on Monday, taking to Twitter to say the animals would no be going anywhere. He used a hashtag in Arabic : "no to animal rights violations".
The tweet to his 7.4m followers featured a photo of his two siamese cats, and many followers replied to his message with photos of their own pets.
Egyptian MP Margaret Azir made the suggestion last month that stray dogs in the country should be sent to countries as food, telling the Youm7 website that dogs were "as valuable as sheep" in some cases.
The Egyptian government has said there are no plans to export animals for eating.
This isn’t the first time the footballer has used his wealth and fan following to shine a light on issues he cares about. Earlier this year he donated £330,000 to fund sewage works in his hometown of Nagrig as well as other projects back in the UK.