1,000 Donkeys and Counting! Help Arrives for Animals Forced to Work

Donkeys relish affection and love, and they get that while receiving veterinary care at the PETA-supported clinic in the “Lost City” of Petra in Jordan.

Gentle donkeys, along with horses, mules, and camels, are forced to toil under the hot desert sun, hauling tourists—and even trash—up and down the 900 steps of the monastery. They are beaten and whipped if they slow down and are often denied shade, rest, water, food, parasite prevention, and veterinary care. Open, fly-infested wounds are left untreated. The ropes and chains that bind the animals are stained with their blood

PETA Asia revealed the cruelty that these animals endure in a hard-hitting video exposé and established a veterinary clinic in Petra to treat the animals at no cost to their owners. So far, the team has treated more than 1,000 donkeys for various issues, including the following:

  • Painful saddle and tack sores

  • Lameness caused by hoof or joint problems

  • Hoof deformities and abscesses from hauling heavy loads

  • Habronemiasis, a skin condition caused by flies landing on open wounds

  • Gashes from being deliberately cut with razor blades

  • Severe anemia and malnutrition

  • Colic, often as a result of ingesting plastic while scavenging for food, which sometimes requires emergency surgery

  • Abuse, such as for this donkey who was hit on the head 14 times, causing his ear to become almost completely detached and requiring 80 stitches

When medical care isn’t enough, the team also provides compassionate end-of-life care, such as for this pregnant donkey, who was pushed off a cliff by children. She appeared to be in excruciating pain and was partially paralyzed.

Following PETA Asia’s exposé, authorities in Petra agreed to make changes to help end the beatings and blatant abuse of these animals. PETA Asia will keep working until every donkey is permanently replaced with motorized vehicles.


Eyewitnesses for PETA and our international affiliates have documented similar abuse at every donkey ride operation that they have visited. Please, never patronize animal rides. You can help fund the Petra donkey care clinic here and click here to take action to help donkeys around the world.