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Stakeholders take steps to address animal abuse in Petra

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Apr 05,2018 - Last updated at Apr 05,2018

HRH Princess Alia (centre) with organisers and participants of Free veterinary day in Petra on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of PDTRA)

AMMAN — Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) on Wednesday started the "Free veterinary days" to address the problem of animal abuse in Petra, after the issue was raised by tourists and local stakeholders, and broadcasted by several media outlets.

The two-day event, held under the patronage of HRH Princess Alia, was supported by the Greater Amman Municipality, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Jordanian Vet Association, the Jordan University for Science and Technology and SPANA.

Princess Alia called for implanting a systematic campaign to educate people on animal welfare, highlighting the need to change the general perception that animals are "totally separated from humans". Human welfare is directly correlated with the human emancipation and social development in general, she noted. 

Chief Commissioner Falah Al Omoush praised the princess for her continuous efforts in raising awareness about the treatment of wild and domestic animals, and for buying equipment and medicine for animal clinics to end the suffering of animals.

Omoush noted the centrality of the tourism sector for the local economy, which attracts tourists from around the world who spend significant amounts of money in the Kingdom.

"I thank His Majesty King Abdullah for bringing visitors to Jordan from all corners of the world," Omoush emphasised, adding "our religion urges us to take care of animals".

He said that PDTRA is exerting all efforts to solve the problems related to the treatment of animals in Petra, as part of a comprehensive strategy.

The team will start taking immediate action by opening a veterinarian clinic where they will provide services on "a permanent basis", such as injections and medication, aiming to reduce the suffering of animals used for work purposes.

The PDTRA team and other organisations involved in the project will start an awareness campaign targeting tourism sector's employees, school students and the local community, Omoush said.

Owners of working animals will be forced to use safe routes instead of hazardous trails, he underscored.

On the implementation of the law, the commissioner noted that PDTRA will start legal action against anyone who is found to mistreat animals, therefore "ruining our tourism and reputation".

"Although the number of complaints about animal abuse are based on obvious facts, some are exaggerated," noted Deputy Chief Commissioner of PDTRA Suleiman Farajat, stressing that the campaign aims to ensure the well-being of animals and the preservation of the site.

On behalf of the FAO, the main technical partner, Wafa Al Ramadneh said that the organisation started tackling the issue of animal welfare in 2009.

"The FAO believes that animals need healthcare and welfare," she said, outlining the three pillars of the organisation: providing treatment for animals suffering from diseases, increasing awareness of owners and building local capacity for the campaign's sustainability.

"We will start assessing animal owners to see how they behave with animals and what hygienic conditions the animals live in, in collaboration with other UN organisations," Ramadneh concluded.

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