Ban Sought on Forcing Abused Horses, Mules, Donkeys, and Camels to Carry Tourists Through Historic City

For Immediate Release:
16 January, 2018

Petra, Jordan – A new PETA Asia investigation into Petra’s tourism industry has revealed that many of the more than 1,300 donkeys, camels, mules, and horses forced to haul visitors on their backs or in carriages in blistering heat without any shade or water are routinely beaten, whipped, and overloaded.

New video footage shows men and even boys hitting the exhausted animals over and over again with plastic pipes, ropes, chains, and whips to keep them moving. Also depicted are blood-stained chains and ropes digging into the animals’ necks and camels with open, fly-infested wounds caused by men who aggressively yank on their bridles to force them onward. One handler is seen viciously kicking a donkey in the stomach when the animal shies away from carrying more tourists after just finishing a tour – causing a person standing nearby to recoil.

The abuse goes unpunished, and the law goes unenforced: a sign erected under public pressure by the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority advises visitors to send cruelty-to-animals complaints to an e-mail address that doesn’t even work.

“It’s an outright disgrace that weak, wounded, exhausted animals in Petra are hit and whipped and go without water and shade in the desert heat every single day,” says PETA Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is calling on the royal family to replace these abused animals with modern conveyances like golf carts so that tourists can appreciate Petra’s rich history without witnessing cruelty to animals, which can ruin a trip and blight the country’s reputation.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – notes that the mules and donkeys are forced to climb the 900 steps to the monastery and down again with visitors on their backs and the horses are made to pull carriages on gruelling 10-kilometre treks through the ancient city multiple times a day. Between rides, the animals are tied up so tightly that they can’t even lie down but instead are made to stand in the sun until the next customer comes along. Often, no veterinary or farrier care appear to be provided, and many animals seem to suffer visibly from lameness, colic, and exhaustion.

For more information, please visit Photos and the video can also be seen on PETA’s Facebook page.