Egypt’s Horses Are Starving To Death

There is heartbreaking news that the weeks of protests in Egypt have caused a crisis for the animals in the country.  Animal welfare groups are desperately trying to keep up with the care of cats, dogs, goats and donkeys that were injured or abandoned during the unrest. 


However, according to the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) the most tragic victims are the estimated 3,000 horses that were used to carry tourists to the Pyramids. 


These equines were the only source of income for their owners.  Once the protests started, the tourists stopped visiting Egypt and the owners could no longer afford to feed their animals.


In addition, many of the roads around Cairo were blocked during the demonstrations and caretakers could not reach the horses.  As a result, the horses are starving to death and many others have died after having to fend for themselves over the past few weeks.


ESMA travelled to the area to get a firsthand look at the situation.  Their team also brought food to distribute to as many horses as possible.


The group visited one stable where a dead horse was being removed by a cart.  They asked the owner if they could see the condition of the other horses.  ESMA reported that all of them were malnourished and some were sick.  The owner told them that he had no money to buy feed or treat the animals.


In addition, the man explained that he was trying to take care of an additional 40 horses that were supposed to go to the military before the protests, but were never picked up.  He was rationing what little food he had on hand to all of the horses.


ESMA then moved on to one of the makeshift graveyards where they saw the remains of 50 horses and 3 camels – all had starved to death.  One representative from the group said, “The most distressing of all the dead animals were the dead foals next to their mothers.”

ESMA representatives handed out buckets of food to 450 horses, until their supply ran out.  They said, “When the horses were waiting in line for their rations, some of them were ‘so hungry’ they ate the trees.”


Learn More About Helping:

Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals



Related Stories:

Forces For Change in Egypt

The Egypt Effect

Creative Commons - Ibakoor


Justingaberial J.
Past Member 4 years ago

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Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Marcia, AGAIN, this was 2 years ago, and a brief situation resulting from the civil unrest in Egypt and the closing off of prime tourist attractions for safety reasons. With no tourists to utilize their services, locals who operated the equine "taxis" had no income. They were forced to make horrible choices in many cases. I guess it's easy for us to say here in the U.S., when we have options, that it was "greed" and the owners were abusive............whatever. Hard to say when you have to make a choice between feeding yourself and your children and a horse which you use for your livelihood, but if that livelihood isn't producing any income and you still need to feed it, what do you do?

Last I read, most of the owners had either found homes for their horses elsewhere, or rescues had intervened.

Angelique Cunningham

Once again, the innocent, and in this case, the horses, are the victims!

Marcia Shiel
M s5 years ago

why do the animals have to suffer because of mans greed and selfishness? they are loyal and do what we ask Yet we starve beat neglect torture and allow them to die horrifically Humans are disgusting

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

TWO YEARS ago, ladies. No point in arguing the issue now. Last I read, many of the horses were saved/rescued, actually.

Shari R.
Misss D5 years ago

Leslie, it's possible some of them did turn their animals loose; but Giza, where the pyramids are, is just outside Cairo and is surrounded by desert. The nile valley is on the other side of Cairo - there's just nowhere for the horses to go. If they were turned loose, they probably didn't make it. If a camel can't make it, I'd imagine there's very little hope for a horse, poor things.

Shari R.
Misss D5 years ago

Well done, Yasmine, for stating the obvious. Shame it had to be done.

Kathleen S.
Kathy S6 years ago

What good is telling us about the suffering of the horses if you don't tell us what can be done. Can't IFAW be contacted for emergency help? There is also International Animals Rescue...has anyone contacted them? We need to know a reliable organization so we can donate quickly.

Leslie F.
Leslie F6 years ago

Why didn't those owners just turn the animals loose in untended land? There's a lot of fertile land lying untended along the Nile valley just now.


Yasmine S.
Yasmine S6 years ago

@ Kenneth M.
Well buddy I am of Egyptian as well as Muslim origin and I am offended by your remark. You think that all the people in Egypt are the same? In Islam, like in Christianity, kindness to animals is advocated for as animals too, well, are God' creations. You think that all Christians are kind to animals? No. I came across religious people who actually condone animal cruelty. See: not all Christians are the same.
I am an advocate for the welfare of horses. I do not condone the hardships many equines face in Egypt (and btw, I've been there many times and saw things with my own eyes), but since you live in the USA and probably think that everything is tip-top there when it comes to equine welfare, let me point out a few things:
Carriage-horses in New York City suffer day after day.
America still sends its horses to slaughter: And the slaughterhouses that operated in the USA were far from humane in the first place:
In the USA cruel wild horse and burro roundups are taking place by a government agency, the Bureau of Land Management:

I was heart-broken to read about what has happened to these horses mentioned in this blog. Yes, it's a terrible tragedy.

But NOBODY should have the authority to go directly criticize an entire ethnicity/country/religion just like you did, Mr. Kenneth.