The carved rock city of Petra in Jordan is one of the most famous and beautiful landmarks of the Middle East (not to mention a filming location of the famous Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists are drawn to this UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Vital to the tourist industry in the region are 1,350 donkeys and horses used to transport visitors on their back or in carriages. The burdens they have to carry or pull are often much too heavy in relation to the animals' diminutive size, and the working days are far too long. Many animals also have no shade from the sun, and insufficient regular fodder and water, quiet places, and veterinary care. They suffer from exhaustion, lameness, colic and incorrect medical diagnoses.
This is why FOUR PAWS the international animal welfare organization– together with the Jordanian Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra tourist board (Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority, – PDTRA) – has drawn up a project for the improvement of the health and working conditions of horses and donkeys in Petra. Both organizations and the tourist board will apply several measures to improve the working animals' situation, and will finance the entire project. "We're constructing stalls and water drainage systems, and we're modernizing an existing veterinary clinic", explains Robert Hengl, Head of horse project for FOUR PAWS. "We're also providing medicines, medical equipment, and training for the local vets, blacksmiths and animal owners."