When tourism came to a standstill during the widespread unrest that ended the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, care for the animals used to transport people in the areas around the previously much-visited pyramids became nearly impossible. HSI and The Brooke initiated a program to feed the animals who worked in the areas around the previously much-visited pyramids. In the aftermath of the “Arab Spring,” Egypt tried to rebuild its travel industry.
A year later, an already weak economy took another hit in late 2012 when, due to security concerns, a number of foreign governments began advising their citizens to avoid the country. Once again, local citizens reliant on tourism to feed themselves, their families and their animals suffered.
Many horses have died and men have been forced to sell their camels for slaughter in desperation. Most are unskilled and have no alternative way to make a living.
Now, as the turmoil continues, HSI has stepped in a second time along with several other NGOs to help support the efforts of a local coalition, including the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends and SPANA, to bring relief to starving equines and camels.
In spite of violent clashes in the streets and days of extreme heat, ESAF was able to feed nearly 700 horses in one week at the end of July. In addition, teeth and hooves were looked at and veterinary care was provided where needed. Nosebands and fly masks were also distributed to grateful owners.
In August, the frequency of feeding and the amount of treatment increased. Over the course of four days, 526 animals were fed and treated in the district of Nazlet El-Semman. Ninety-four camels and horses then received food and care in neighboring Kafr El Gabal.
Information about the program has spread by word of mouth and people line up each morning with their animals to receive their feed ration and attention from a team of vets and vet techs.
In total, over a four-week periodof the first round of aid, 1,857 horses and donkeys and 94 camels were fed and tended to, funded by HSI and several other organizations eager to help.
Ahmed El Sherbiny, chair of ESAF, expressed appreciation for the assistance and, voicing his concern for the plight of both animals and owners, stated, “We do hope this situation will end soon.”
He reports that he has not seen any tourists in the area this whole time. For now, the initiative is ongoing.