Thursday, April 14, 2011

Please don't forget the horses!

Let me post again another follow-up to the feeding posts I've been doing for ESMA. This one however, is so much more important than previous postings in light of the announcement made yesterday by The Brooke animal sanctuary.

According to The Brooke's statement, "The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has announced tourists are returning to Egypt and the industry is slowly recovering. Animal owners are therefore able to start earning an income again and the overall situation for animals has stabilised...The Brooke has assessed the situation carefully, and together with The Donkey Sanctuary and Egyptian Society for Animal Friends (ESAF) – two organisations we have been working closely with, we have agreed the current emergency programme will come to an end on 21 April."

Firstly, I would like to be directed as to where exactly the Ministry of Tourism announced that travel in Cairo was back to normal? I have only seem them promoting tourism and reporting an increase in tourism in the Red Sea areas, and the Sinai. In fact, the most recent comments that I have heard is that flights into Cairo International Airport have returned to 70 % of their pre-revolution level, whereas "Activity is expected to gradually return to normal starting in June, when expatriate Egyptians typically return for summer vacations and when Muslims often travel for pilgrimage." [Source] So according to The Brooke, tourists are returning to Cairo in such a number that the aid for the horses is no longer necessary. Yet I seem unable to find ANY source to verify this claim. I would ask that they send me their sources directly, because they are obviously so obscure that nobody else can find them. 

Having spoken to people in Cairo directly, who just this past weekend went out to a horse feed, I can attest that the struggle is far from over. The idea of this blog is not to discredit one animal rights organization or another, simply to point out that the dire situation with the horses has a long way to go before it can return to satisfactory, and more importantly, sustainable levels. 

ESMA feed, Saturday 9th April 

The Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals have tirelessly been sending out teams of volunteers each and every weekend to distribute feed to the animals in the worst condition. Volunteers from ESMA note that "there are still hundreds of animals starving, and not enough tourists to provide business." While furthering education campaigns to help the horse owners understand the responsibility of horse ownership is of course vital, in the meantime how many of these animals have to die before these education campaigns take effect. 

There remain so many cases that are in desperate need of help

ESMA has established a routine for the weekly feed. Run out of a large garden, the horses in the worst condition are supervised while they receive their food. It is an unfortunate truth that were ESMA simply to hand out the feed to the stable owners, many of the horses would never see it. 

The horses are supervised as they receive their feed

ESMA volunteers carefully record and track each horse that is given feed to ensure that they are not fed twice. Not only do they receive feed, they are also given a check over by ESMA's dedicated team of vets, who spend all day in the sun helping out the horses. 

ESMA volunteers mark horses that have received their feed

Horses with open wounds on their back receive emergency care
Many of the horses that are seen by ESMA have open wounds or sores. When the owners were asked why the situation got so bad, their response is shocking and disturbing. The government vets, that are meant to provide services free and medical supplies at a discounted price, will overcharge their patrons. This results in most of the owners simply being unable to afford to get their horses treatment. It's a vicious cycle. 

This is a plea to remember that the situation is not over. Don't forget about these horses that are suffering and dying every day around the pyramids. The tourism industry in Cairo has not returned to a level that provides enough income for these stable owners. Please, if you can, donate to ESMA, mark it down as a donation for the horses, and do your part in helping these animals see a brighter future. For additional information on how to donate, click here. You will also find here a more detailed post on what it is that is being done to help put an end to this mass starvation of animals.

If you haven't yet, check out this post to find how just a few seconds of your time could end up making a world of difference for the neglected and abused animals in Egypt!

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