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How I Spent My Egyptian Vacation

Written by PETA | February 27, 2009

When you work for PETA, it’s hard to ever really go on vacation. That’s because everywhere you go, you are bound to encounter people doing not-so-nice things to animals. Take my recent trip to Egypt. Skinny stray cats and dogs were hanging around outside all the hotels and restaurants, camels were living in squalor outside the pyramids for the sake of a photo opportunity, and the streets at all the big tourist spots were thick with horse-drawn carriages. I took these photos in Luxor, home to the famous Karnak temple and the Valley of the Kings and therefore overrun with sightseers. The carriages were lined up for a whole city block, waiting to draw in gullible tourists:


Horse drawn carriages in Egypt


Many of the horses are hobbled when they aren’t working. This one was hobbled so tightly that he couldn’t move even an inch in any direction:




Notice the sores on the horse’s knees. I saw many horses with such sores. I saw no indication that working horses were ever provided water or shade. The cracks of the drivers’ whips could be heard blocks away.

These people are in business strictly to cater to tourists, who ignorantly think horse-drawn carriage rides are “romantic.” Somehow, I miss the “romance” in staring at the rump of a tired and dejected horse.

Fortunately, the good folks of Rome (the birthplace of romance) agree. Rome’s city council recently restricted the use of horse-drawn carriages to city parks, allowing them on city streets only on weekends. During the week, carriage operators will instead ferry tourists around in vintage-looking electric cars, (similar to the cars that New York City is currently thinking of employing). The move came in response to the death of Birillo, a horse who broke his leg after being hit by a truck and who lay on the street in agony for four hours before being euthanized.

In honor of Birillo and all his toiling brethren, give a carriage driver a piece of your mind and give the horse an apple (carry some with you for the purpose) instead of spending your hard-earned coin the next time you’re on vacation.

Written by Joel Bartlett

Commenting is closed.
  • Sarah Grunwald says:

    Actually regarding ROME your information is incorrect!! Sadly horses are not limited to the parks They are cruelly forced to carry loads of tourists through the chaotic streets of Rome up hill in the heat in the cold. In fact two horses have died in accidents or from exhaustion in the past year and that is not including those injured. Then after a lifetime of slavery they are slaughtered for meat for the northern European market. I know because I am currently involvved in the movement against carriages in Rome with many local groups. Please if you can pass this petition on and sign it before BAN HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES WORLDWIDE DECEMBER 5th httpwww.thepetitionsite.com3banhorsedrawncarriagesinrome

  • Sarah Grunwald says:

    The horse drawn carriages have NOT been limited to the parks in Rome. The horses are still in the streets. I am in the city daily and see the horses in 100 degree weather pulling horses. Please check this out and sign these two petitions I have posted. Please also mention that you will BOYCOTT Rome until there are no horses. httpthecompassionatehedonist.blogspot.com200907againsthorsedrawncarraigesinrome.html

  • Jonathan says:

    As an international traveller I have not seen too many animal drawn carriages. I performed also with the US Army Field Artillery Half Section. We had retired racehorses for show purposes that got more attention and care than we did. But they were ridden daily and in public view constantly. If the horse was a ‘lil under’ no show for that horse. As for travelling abroad I would not allow my pleasure to be manifested by the undercare of a horse drawn cart but rather give him the fee as a donation to care for his horse and teach him a lesson on horse care.

  • emily says:

    he clearly can move side to side

  • lynda downie says:

    That’s just heartless to hobble the horses like that. I agree with Jill. I never saw as much disdain for animals or indifference to their suffering as I did in the clergy and nuns in the Catholic church.

  • caroljoy says:

    I know as a christian myself especially in the evengelical movement thier isnt as much concern for animals They feel they have to save the souls of humans first and formost but cathlics and others seem to be more concerned especially remember the first patron saint Francis of Assie to advocate kindness to all Gods creatures was ahead of his time hundreds of years ago in a world I doult cared much about animals these ideas came from the bible as was just mentioned King Solmens proverbs to treat your animals kindly and many other christins to believe animals should be treated kindly But sadly to say many seem to put animals in the back of what yhey are concerned with Ive tried to talk to some of them and all they could say was people come first but to me whats that got to do with treating animals kindly example is it reaally going to stop children from sarving if you dont buy fur from animals tourtured by being skinned alive one issue has nothing to do with other sometimes I just think it is a cop out because it is excuse not to care Actually violence against animals promotes acrueler and less caring world for people to I as a Christian feel fully convinced that God cares for animals and that is our duty to

  • Rev. Meg says:

    Do not judge all religious people by what you see your friends doing. Don’t judge people at all that is not your perogative that is reserved for God. He will deal with it. Just keep doing what you are able to do on behalf of animals. You are representing the animal rights movement in all you do and say. Set a good example and perhaps your friends will follow it.

  • jburnett says:

    I went on vacation to IsraelJordan a few years back and the horse drawn carriages in Jordan at Petra were sad! HOT weather little shade no water having horses haul people up and down a long cobble stone path that was apparently hard on their hoofs. I even saw one horse collapse and scrape his head on a rock….I was pissed to say the least and told the driver he needed to tend to his horse NOW!!

  • Jill says:

    It is all so sad. I do believe that “religious people” are the biggest exploiters of animals. I have friends who are self described ‘Jesus freaks’ and show up to lunch with fur collars and leather purses. How can you claim to be a religious person and wear the skins of a tortured creature? I find that those who aren’t particularly religious are more apt to fight on behalf of ‘God’s Creatures”. For this reason and MANY others I conclude religion is a joke.

  • Saucy says:

    Valley of Kings hhhuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhh? Valley of Fools more like it! What about King Solomon? He was King. He famously wrote in the book of Proverbs “The righteous man regards the life of his beast but even the tender mercies of the unrighteous man are cruel” I am certain that even in a Muslim nation they recognize the wisdom of King Solomon. What the heck are they doing to that horse??????????????? Thanks PETA for sharing this. I hope you got a game plan on this. I read there is an egyptian consulate in DC. Please keep us posted. What can we do?

  • farah says:

    Not true AAG that western civ is responsible for the philosophy on animal rights. Islam does not support animal cruelty and in fact stresses kindness to animals. check out anyway like I said before the horse and carriage industry is fueled by western tourists. how do you explain that?

  • AAG says:

    Compassion to animals is not a priority in the Middle East or other muslim nations. The Western civilization is responsible for the philosophy and thought that recognizes humane treatment of God’s creatures. Of course we still have much to accomplish in western nations but humane work is recognized as legitimate. These are very sad and depressing photos.

  • Andrea says:

    This is horrid. How can people do this to animals and to living creatures. This is why I stand next to Hayden Panettiere in saving dolphins and other animals. They are heartless people who have nothing better to do and I am appauled.

  • animalfriend says:

    horrible just horrible! how can human beings be so stupid and cruel to condone this shameful thing! and until now it can be seen everywhere in the mediterranean area! so i put all my hopes and trust into PETA to stop these horsedrawn carriages at once and for always!

  • roxanne says:

    horrible pictures. and I blame any tourist who would ride the carriage seeing those horses in such miserable shape. so sad

  • farah says:

    I too went on a vacation in Egypt years ago. Unfortunately tourists are the ones that are keeping the horse and carriage industry alive and well in Egypt. I witnessed a sickening “dancing horse” a horse that trots back and forth while music is played with many American and European tourists all of whom found it very entertaining.

  • NT says:

    I refuse to visit certain countries where I may come across horrible animal abuse. Take India for example if I saw a “dancing bear” I would be heart broken not to mention the fact that i might punch the bear owner in the face! I went to Chicago and the horsedrawn carriages killed my vacation. I won’t go to New York for the same reason. People should stop going to places like Egypt where they treat animals like that and let the Tourism offices know why!

  • Maureen says:

    Even though I love to travel I find it overbearing to witness such cruelty to animals in certain countries. Instead of happy memories of many places I visited I only remember the suffering of abandoned and exploited animals. I remember screaming at a man who kicked a stray dog in La Paz Bolivia and he really could not understand why such an act would upset anyone. Sadly that is the way many people see animals around the world.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Animals are mistreated exploited and brutalized throughout the world in general and in the middle east in particular. At one time cats were revered in Egypt. All these so called religious nations treat God’s creatures in an unpardonably vicious manner.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Because I live in an historic area of Orange County we sometimes see bridal couples being ferried around the City of Orange Plaza in horse drawn carriages competing with the traffic. I am usually driving when I see this and my heart stops I am just waiting for the accident to happen. The next time I see this I am a minister and wedding season is coming I plan on petitioning the city counsel to ban horse drawn carriages. If one of my couples ever wants to try this I will advise them against it and give them one of PETA’s phamplets.