A charity is rallying support to help hundreds of horses facing starvation in Egypt following the collapse of the tourist trade.
Political unrest has meant about 48 per cent fewer tourists visited the country in the last quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, leaving many of Cairo’s carriage drivers without an income and unable to afford feed for their horses.
Animal lover and former British MP Ann Widdecombe has toured the area around the Giza Pyramids in Cairo to see the plight of horses.
British animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) says hundreds of emaciated carriage horses that are usually used for tourist excursions are now suffering severe malnutrition because of the disastrous drop in the tourist trade.
Widdecombe visited Giza with the charity this week to see its work helping malnourished horses, and travelled to an area on the outskirts of the city that has become a dumping ground for horse carcasses.
“Tourists will stay away from Egypt until political stability returns and in the meantime horses will suffer,” Widdecombe said.
“It has been truly shocking and heartbreaking to see the plight of horses here, especially the area that’s become a makeshift horse graveyard.”
She praised the work of charities such as SPANA for taking action to feed Giza’s horses, saving their lives and securing the future incomes of carriage drivers reliant on the tourist trade.
SPANA is funding an emergency programme to provide basic rations for 200 horses a day.
SPANA chief executive Jeremy Hulme said: “Thousands of people rely on the tourism industry for their income in Egypt and can’t afford to feed their families at the moment, never mind their animals.
“This is why our emergency feeding programme is absolutely vital to help keep animals alive until tourism returns.
“Tragically, many horses and camels in the area have already died; they are truly the forgotten victims of this crisis.”
The feeding programme is being run in association with SPANA’s partner organisation, ESAF (the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends).
Want to help? Go to www.spana.org/egypt or call 020 7831 3999.