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Shouldn’t Clean Water Be an Animal’s Right?

This animal is forced to work in Petra.

Staff at the PETA-supported veterinary clinic in Petra are seeing a sharp increase in the number of animals who are in desperate need of their help as temperatures rise and tourists start to pour through the gates.

Staying hydrated in Petra’s desert climate is vital to survival—which makes the conditions that our team found at the site’s only water trough for animals heartbreaking: a mess of mud, algae, and mosquito larvae, which can sicken or kill those who drink there.

Our team immediately contacted government officials who oversee the trough, but despite the warnings of water-borne diseases and toxic algae, they failed to take action. The trough remained dry and dirty, and the small storage room containing the water tanks to fill the trough was tightly padlocked.

The only trough in Petra is filled with algae and mud!

Staff located the person hired by officials to maintain and fill the trough—but he simply refused to do his job.

Taking matters into their own hands to alleviate this emergency, our team managed to open the door, only to find a filthy room with empty water tanks. Not to be stymied in their quest to give the animals water, our crew called a supplier to come and fill the tanks. In preparation for the delivery, they thoroughly scrubbed the grime and cleaned the muck out of the trough.

Staff at the veterinary clinic in Petra clean the only trough inside the city that animals can access when forced to work. The image shows staff scooping out a cupful of dirt.

But the challenge to providing animals with fresh water was not over. The water supplier was stopped by officials at Petra’s closed gates, and the guard, enforcing the park’s hours of operation, refused to allow the supplier entry. Clinic staff pleaded with the guard, but they were unable to move him to act compassionately. Staff called officials, but they didn’t answer their phones. Finally, after a strongly worded message from our veterinarian to a top official, the guard was ordered to let the water tanker pass through the gates. Victory!

Staff at the veterinary clinic in Petra arranged for the trough and storage tanks to be filled with water.

When staff returned to the area the next day to provide animals with care, they saw as many as 40 animals lapping up the water in the span of just two hours! Our team followed up with government officials who have given their assurances that the tank would remain clean and full of water.

Not leaving anything to chance, the clinic has hired staff to ensure that the animals do indeed have drinking water at all times. They’re also talking to the owners of the animals who rely on the trough about doing something when it’s dirty and/or dry. Clean water is a right for everyone, and clinic staff are steadfastly looking out for those who speak a different language from humans—the weary donkeys, camels, horses, and other animals forced to suffer and work in Petra.

Jordan can and must replace Petra’s working horses, donkeys, mules, and camels with modern motorized vehicles and spare these animals a lifetime of suffering. Please take action to urge UNESCO to act now.

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To report a situation involving an animal in immediate danger in Petra, please contact the Petra Veterinary Clinic.
Please stay with the animal until help arrives in order to make sure that he or she is properly tended to.

To report the emergency, please call +962 780632240