PETA’s Work to Improve Animal Welfare in the Middle East

Published by PETA.

After PETA’s 2006 investigation helped put the horrific live-export industry into the spotlight, we’ve continued to raise awareness of this crucial issue with exposés, protests, petitions, letter-writing campaigns, and leafleting as well as by enlisting the help of celebrities. Around 2 million sheep are sent from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa every year.

PETA Australia has repeatedly garnered widespread media coverage of live export and has helped generate public outrage as well as pressure for change. For example, the group’s 2018 op-ed—which reached a large audience when it was published in The Daily Telegraph—offered a scathing critique of the government’s “shocked” response to video footage showing the horrifying conditions endured by sheep in the live-export industry. This issue also received media coverage when we offered to pay for the installation of webcams on all live-export ships.

PETA and our affiliates have also held attention-grabbing demonstrations to draw attention to the issue, including in Australia and several Middle Eastern countries, such as Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Other successful means used to raise awareness of the horrors that animals endure during live export include hard-hitting online campaigns and informational leaflets. In 2017 alone, PETA and its affiliates distributed thousands of leaflets informing people of the cruelty of live export.

PETA’s other work in the Middle East includes going to the war zone, when the 2006 Lebanon War broke out between Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military, in order to help dogs, cats, and other animals who were tragically abandoned when government officials ordered the citizens to evacuate. We also helped spare the lives of hundreds of pigs and goats in Iraq, who will no longer be cut apart and killed in medical training courses, thanks to PETA U.S.’ donation of state-of-the-art TraumaMan surgical simulators in 2017. They replicate a breathing, bleeding human torso, complete with realistic layers of skin and tissue, ribs, and internal organs, so that training programs don’t have to use animals to teach thousands of doctors to perform lifesaving surgical procedures on victims of traumatic injuries.

PETA has also worked with actor Amy Samir Ghanem to call for kindness to donkeys in Egypt and Jordan, where these animals are forced to haul heavy loads and tourists under the scorching sun. The animals rarely get to rest and are almost never given vital veterinary care for their painful injuries. If you’re traveling to the Middle East, please skip the donkey rides and, instead, offer water and fresh fruit to these overworked animals.

Most recently, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed is taking historic steps in Petra, Jordan, to protect animals at the ancient tourist site, where more than 1,300 horses, donkeys, and camels are forced to carry tourists or pull carriages in the city every day.

After seeing PETA’s exposé detailing abuses at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the prince devised a plan to eliminate the need for animals to work under grueling conditions there. It includes a sanctuary for the city’s animals, restored steps leading to the site, and custom electric vehicles and charging stations for the locals to ferry tourists in the city.

With the cooperation and support of Lina Annab, Jordan’s minister of tourism and antiquities, and Falah Omoush, chief commissioner of the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority, the prince’s venture capital firm, KBW Ventures, plans on rolling out these changes to restore some of the site’s original features and to end the current reliance on animals.

This isn’t the first time that the prince’s firm has taken steps to improve the lives of animals. It plans to build a fishless aquarium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and supports efforts to provide the Middle East with more vegan food.

PETA applauds the prince’s swift action to eliminate cruelty in Petra and across the Middle East. The move will preserve the city’s past and set it on the path to a more compassionate future.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind