End Animal Abuse in Petra

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The animals being used as labour in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra, are being physically abused, neglected, overworked and exploited. The donkeys, horses and camels are currently at the disposal of tourists who ride them up long distances without breaks for food or water and are beaten with sticks, rope and wire by the owners. When not being ridden, they are tied up with short ropes in such a way in which they cannot sit or lay down to rest. 

The donkeys are mostly used to carry tourists up an 850 step, steep uphill journey to the monastery site. At times there will be two people on a donkey at a time, putting unnecessary strain upon it in addition to the long journey it is forced to make every day in the sweltering heat. 

Many of the horses are forced to pull carriages with up to three people inside. They clearly struggle with the weight, are exhausted from the process and are drenched in sweat.  

Many of the animals are bound in tightly secured rope and chains and have wounds and marks all over their body from this as well as from the daily abuse they endure as they are beaten to work faster for the tourists enjoyment.

As an internationally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Jordan’s largest sources of income, bringing in 50JD a head for the countless non-residents visiting everyday, this is unacceptable and completely avoidable. At current, clearly none of the sites income is going back in to ensure the basic rights and needs of the animals residing there.

At the very least, these animals deserve food and water stations throughout the site. They should be granted frequent breaks without being tied up and should not be bound throughout the day at all. There should not be any animals being ridden up the 850 steps to monastery. This is a physically demanding trip which tourists are at their own discretion to make. If they feel unable to do so, they should not force a defenceless animal to make it whilst having to carry them in addition. Horse carriages should be completely banned. Any kind of physical abuse towards an animal should be severely punished. There should be supervision throughout the entire site from either the government or Animal rights charities and NGO’s to ensure that there is no mistreatment. Any animal rides need to be closely monitored to ensure that no harm is being caused and that the animal is not working beyond its capacity.     

These are living beings that feel pain and exhaustion the same way that we do and are vulnerable to their owners and surroundings. They deserve to live in peace without discomfort or pain and must to have their basic needs met at the very least.

If you have already visited this site please email info@visitpetra.jo and report any abuse you may have witnessed, and forward further complaints and pressure for change to the Jordan Tourism Board at info@visitjordan.com.