Horse drawn cart

FOUR PAWS helps ending animal cruelty at UNESCO World Heritage Site

The use of horse carriages in Petra, Jordan will no longer be permitted and replaced by electric golf carts


JORDAN - NOVEMBER, 2021 - E-mobility replaces animal cruelty at the world-famous rock city of Petra. Tourists have recently started traveling in electric golf carts instead of animal-harmful horse-drawn carriages. 

FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization,  has been campaigning for the animals on site since 2015. Together with local partners, the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra Tourism Authority (PDTRA), it was possible to put an end to animal suffering by pulling carriages weighing several hundred kilos. The new "Club Cars", which the authority acquired at the end of 2019, are in daily use and transport up to six people at a time. This is easy on the horses’ joints as it is on the environment. FOUR PAWS and partners have already been able to achieve a number of successes for the horses in Petra over the past six years such as new stables that have been built as well as a water drainage system. Furthermore, the lives of more than 800 horses have been improved through health checks, treatments and therapies. According to current plans, the successful project will continue for at least another three years.

The abandoned rock city of Petra in Jordan has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and is one of the most beautiful sights in the Middle East. Since 2015, FOUR PAWS has been campaigning for the animal welfare of horses working in tourism. The latest success now prevents the previously regular injuries that the animals had sustained from pulling heavy carriages.

“We are very happy that the local government PDTRA was able to put an end to the cruel conditions for hundreds of horses. The metal carts pulled by the horses over gravel paths, once occupied by humans, weighed several hundred kilos. The strain on the joints was enormous for the animals. Since 2015, we have therefore had to carry out around 1,000 treatments on the animals that had injured their knees, hooves or other parts of their bodies during the heavy work. In addition to the beauty of the famous rock city, visitors can now also enjoy the contribution they are making to animal welfare in tourism.”

-Robert Hengl, project leader at FOUR PAWS

Horses stay, but in a species appropriate manner

The horses will continue to accompany the image of Petra, but in a species appropriate manner and without the extreme strain. Only individual tourists are now allowed to be carried by the horses. Animal aid also means human aid: The animals are often the only source of income for the owners and thus their livelihood. A single animal can feed up to six people. In total, the horses generate the living costs of about 8,000 people in the region around Petra. Dr Suleiman A.D. Farajat, chief commissioner of PDTRA: 

This step is part of a comprehensive reengineering plan of tourist services including transportation inside the World Heritage Site of Petra whereby electric cars and buses will be introduced without depriving the locals from their source of income. Furthermore, this will not only enhance animal welfare and the tourists´ experience but will also create new  jobs. PDTRA appreciates the collaboration with FOUR PAWS and other partners and will continue this for the sake of the site and the horses.


our work to make life better

 for the working horses of Petra park, Jordan

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.