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A new investigation has revealed that many animals in a top tourist destination are beaten and abused.
The investigation into Petra’s tourism industry by animal rights charity PETA Asia discovered that many of the more than 1,300 donkeys, camels, mules, and horses used to carry tourists on their backs or in carriages are ‘routinely beaten, whipped, and overloaded’.
According to a PETA spokesperson: “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 as well as camels with open, fly-infested wounds caused by men who aggressively yank on their bridles to force them onwards.
“In the footage, one handler viciously kicks a donkey in the stomach when the animal resists carrying more tourists after just finishing a tour – causing a person standing nearby to recoil.”
According to the charity, this abuse goes unpunished and protection laws are not enforced.
PETA claims that ‘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,” said PETA Director Elisa Allen.
“PETA is calling on Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities 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.”
In 2016, 65,000 British tourists visited Jordan, and recent reports show that the figure is rising.