Every year tens of thousands of tourists who visit Egypt’s magnificent, millennia-old pyramids and tombs send home photos of themselves trotting along atop the horses and camels for rent at the sites. When the anti-government demonstrations paralyzed the country in January, tourism ended, and so did the rental fees for the animals’ owners, and thus so did the feed for the animals, according to local animal protection groups.
Many of the horses and camels photographed by AnimalBeat.org and Animal Policy Examiner a during a trip to Egypt just a few weeks ago presumably are either dead or starving to death now.
Those beasts of burden—a literal term in this case—worked long and hard in less than optimal conditions even when things were “normal” in that historic, awe-inspiring, and beautiful nation. It’s disturbing to think about how much worse the animals’ lives have suddenly become.
A small army of volunteers from Egyptian animal protection groups are struggling—some working round the clock—to obtain feed and deliver it to as many as possible of the estimated thousands of starving horses and camels in the Cairo area.
For some of the animals they arrive too late, but for others, they perform rescue miracles.
Read a first-hand report on the situation from Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA).
AnimalBeat.org/Animal Policy Examiner visited, photographed, and took video at ESMA’s shelter for dogs and cats in November and has remained in close contact with the group throughout the recent turmoil.
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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris) has written 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Petside.com, and two regional news wire services.
A cofounder of AnimalBeat.org, she holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost>and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story “Small Change” placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine’s short fiction contest and appeared in the November 2010 issue.
She may be reached at [email protected]