Animal Suffering at the Petra Cultural Monument

The ruins of Petra in Jordan are a popular tourist attraction with amazing ancient ruins and temples. But the rock city also has a dark and dingy side: more than 1,300 horses, donkeys, mules and camels are forced every day to carry tourists on their backs through the rocky city – even in the sweltering heat. The animals in Petra suffer unimaginable pain.

Violence, exhaustion and neglect – the daily suffering of animals in Petra

Time and time again, animal leaders hit exhausted animals and kick their delicate sides. Meanwhile, carefree tourists allow themselves to be transported along a ten-kilometer arduous road under the scorching sun.

Punches and kicks are the order of the day

When animals are too exhausted to continue, they are beaten mercilessly. Our video recordings show a donkey that is supposed to carry the tourists again shortly after the tour. When the animal turns away, it is kicked in the stomach with such force that the person standing near it sways in shock. The donkey tries to escape the attack – but to no avail because it is tied up.

Animal handlers mistreat the animals in Petra by using things like hard plastic tubes, ropes, chains, and whips to get them to move on.

Wounded donkey
Animals are characterized by injuries.

animals in danger

Donkeys are forced to carry vacationers up and down the steep and worn 900 steps to the city’s famous monastery. If they refuse or falter, the strikes become more frequent and harder.

No water despite the heat

Water and shade are not available for animals. Although they are forced to do carriage work all day in the desert heat, they only get water at the end of the day when they return to the stables. The only source of water is in the Petra Archaeological Park.

Exhausted donkeys
Working under the scorching sun puts animals on the brink of exhaustion.

Animals are powerless against heat

Animals are restricted between uses – have no shade or other protection from heat. Some of them are so short that they cannot lie down and rest, but they have to stand and wait for the next customer to pay.

Animal suffering continues

After PETA Asia released shocking video footage in early 2018, Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism vowed to end the cruel treatment of donkeys, camels and horses. Unfortunately, footage from April 2018 showed that animals in Petra continue to be beaten and whipped to entertain tourists – and they continue to do so to this day. As this video demonstrates, tourists contribute directly to the suffering and pain of animals.

With the support of the PETA Global Compassion Fund, a veterinary clinic opened in Petra in 2019 to provide emergency care for animals. Here animals with acute pain or injuries are treated free of charge, and food is provided to hungry animals.

In 2021, the Petra Regional Development and Tourism Authority announced at least the first improvements in animal welfare: instead of horse-drawn carts, electric vehicles are now used. However, horses, mules, donkeys, and camels are still mistreated and tortured at the Petra cultural site to transport tourists. The government and authorities as well as tourists are now being asked to work to end the animal suffering.

Preventing animal suffering in tourist areas

In many holiday areas camels, horses, donkeys, elephants and other animals are misused for tourism purposes. We at BETA Germany regularly receive similar reports from countries such as Egypt, Greece and Jordan.

Please do not use tourist attractions that use animals. Instead, enjoy the many holiday activities that animals don’t suffer for.

Discover here the biggest animal welfare traps out there and grab the attention of those around you.

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