Camel named Bhuriya
Koustubh Pol

Bulls Aren’t Bicycles, Camels Aren’t Cars

Issue 2|Spring 2024

PETA Gets Tourists Off Animals’ Backs

Camels can survive harsh desert environments. When resources are scarce, they live off the fat stored in their humps; their nostrils are built-in dehumidifiers, cooling their exhaled breath to prevent water loss; and their beautiful long eyelashes stop sand from blowing into their eyes. But they can’t adapt to the cruelty humans inflict on them. People who take selfies atop a camel’s back must reckon with the suffering it represents.

At top Egyptian tourist sites, PETA has shown saddle and nose peg sores on animals toiling in the blistering heat without food, water, or shade. Horses used for rides are beaten bloody even when they fall, and camels are forced to “walk” on their knees on the stony ground and are even dragged, bellowing in pain, behind trucks. There is no retirement: When their bodies wear out, they are sold and slaughtered in hideous ways for their flesh and skin.

At Petra, in Jordan, a PETA-supported veterinary clinic provides care for the poor donkeys who haul tourists up 900 stone steps to a monastery, while the horse carriages we have complained bitterly about are now banned. In Santorini, Greece, we protest vigorously against donkey rides up a long, winding hill under the blazing summer sun. In Delhi, thanks to PETA India, horses used to haul lumber, steel, and machinery as well as joyriders have been replaced by electric carts that PETA’s Global Compassion Fund helps subsidize.

One powerful way to end this abuse is to ban animal rides – and PETA is working on that. AdventureWomen – named one of the “15 Best Tour Operators” by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2022 – has joined the growing list of travel companies that have dropped camel rides at the pyramids of Giza after hearing from us. We’re keeping pressure on the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Indian governments to switch to electric carts, and supporters of PETA entities in the US, the UK, and continental Europe have been protesting outside consulates.

It sometimes takes legislation or a court case. In 2015, PETA India won a ban on the “traditional” Victoria horse carriages used on Mumbai’s busy streets, after showing malnourished and wounded horses. Then PETA India achieved a ban on bullock carts used to haul oil in that city. Now, following PETA India’s complaints, the Calcutta High Court has ordered the seizure of unlicensed horse-drawn carriages in Kolkata, and several of the rescued horses are safe at a PETA-supported sanctuary. PETA India is appealing to replace these carriages and elephant rides at Amber Fort with motorized e-carriages. Meanwhile, we ask tourists anywhere in the world never to ride any animal: They are not volunteers.

Be Part of It!

Camels are emotional and caring individuals, they have social structures and language just like humans do, and they deserve respect. Never pay for camel rides or pictures with animals, and speak out if someone asks you to participate in any activity that uses animals. Urge Egypt’s minister of tourism and antiquities to ban camel rides and other animal tourism.

Together, we can create a more compassionate world for all, from camels to cows. Read on! →
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