Carriage horses working around the Giza Pyramids are on the brink of starvation as holidaymakers stay away from Egypt, a charity has warned.
The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) says tourism, which has been slow since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, is now close to collapse amid the escalating crisis.
Unrest has been growing in Egypt since the nation’s military removed the democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, from office.
SPANA says the downturn has left many of Cairo’s carriage drivers unable to afford to feed their horses, which are usually used to pull carriages for tourist excursions around the pyramids.
“The fall in tourist numbers over the past few months has been bad enough for the horses working around the pyramids, but the recent political upheaval is the final straw,” SPANA chief executive Jeremy Hulme said.
“It’s heartbreaking that many of these horses are on the brink of starvation because their poor owners simply can’t afford to feed them without the income generated from tourism.
“We’re appealing for help to feed these forgotten victims of the crisis until political stability and tourism returns to Egypt.”
The British-based charity has launched an emergency appeal to provide 4000 meals to horses around Cairo.
The feeding scheme will run for two months in association with SPANA’s partner organisation, the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends (ESAF).
The charity says a donation of just £5.90 will help feed a malnourished horse for a week.
SPANA, which has been supporting working animals around the world since 1923, previously provided funding to feed animals in Egypt in 2011, during the Arab Spring. It ran feeding programmes with ESAF and the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals.
SPANA provides free veterinary care to horses, donkeys, mules, and camels in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Aside from free veterinary treatment, it provides education and training, and emergency and outreach projects.
It is estimated that up to 100 million working animals worldwide do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, carrying heavy loads with little rest to support poverty-stricken communities.
For more information or to donate to the emergency appeal, visit www.spana.org/egypt or call 0800 953 5781.
For more information on SPANA, visit www.spana.org.