The Giza Foundation         11.11.11 & Giza A Big Reality Check        starting with a dead donkey!

 

Good people of Cairo and Egypt

Don't you know what is happening on your own doorstep?

 

 The following quote is taken from : http://walycenter.org/en/heritage-planning/10/102

 

The Giza Pyramids Site Rehabilitation Plan commenced in January 2009 and comprises a Heritage Plan to conserve both built and natural heritage by ; pedestrianizing the Pyramid Precinct and rerouting all vehicular traffic ; relocating structures that severely alter the nature of the heritage site ; and relocating all horse-riding activities from the Pyramid Precinct to the Environs.

 

I emplore anyone especially who has a direct interest in the Giza Plateau and the fate of the animals there to go to this site and dilligently absorb The Giza Pyramids Rehabilitation Plan. It is a plan that should interest the world and should add to the shame of Egypt for forgetting the reverence and almost symbiotic relationship it had with its animals in the distant past. For those who want a quick snapshot of the animal catastrophe that is in prospect soon, I will return to the subject, in detail - in a moment.

 

First I must report on our recent extended trip to Giza and the Plateau.

 

Apart from tracking evidence for our ancient past, we visited this time with a specific agenda to motivate the aims of The Giza Foundation. These are firmly embedded in helping to provide a long term change in current attitudes to animals. Over the years we have developed strong stomachs for the terrible animal sights we have witnessed there, but we were reduced to tears more than once on this occasion.

 

I will tell tell you also in a moment of our liaison with http://www.upperegypt.com/Vet_Services/Brooke_Hospital/brooke_hospital.html

 

But there was one terrible incident which sticks in the mind where the Brooke Hospital were able to help;

(...with massive grateful thanks to the kindness, help and attention given to us by their head of Animal Affairs; Dr Emad Naoum)

 

The Stable of Rotting Horses

 

We became aware of a stable with a string of tethered horses in the full heat of the day. They had appauling injuries from saddle abuse and neglect which had turned their backs into raw open meat - covered only by the thousands of flies sapping their blood.

 

Despite wanting to literally throttle the owner, we spoke with him sensibly. The Brooke operate regular free animal clinics in Giza, and there had been one the day before. I asked why these animals had not been treated.

 

The problem essentially is that the people live in slum poverty by our western standards. Tourisim is still in collapse and set to get worse long before it gets better. Money goes to feed the family. There is a mentality which does not stretch to saying I will give half my money to tend my animals properly to guarantee they will serve me tomorrow and always, in best condition. The Brooke are one of the leading organisations who do their very best, but are woefully underfunded and stretched for fresh help.

(It costs around just LE35 / 4.00 / $6 .00 to feed an animal properly each day with grass and suppliment.)This is nothing to westerners but a collective fortune for all the animals for locals.

 

Funds allow for free food to be issued as a suppliment, but only on a rota basis. On the latest visit the Rotton Stable owner was not due for free grass. He had argued with the Inspector and offered only some of his animals for treatment. The worst of them were on even lower food ration and had been strung out to simply suffer in the baking sun!

 

I told the owner I would be contacting the Brooke immediately to report the situation. He did not argue! He seemed to believe that he was the aggrieved party.

I told him we were going to photograph the animals and report them with the pictures. I climbed over a wall to get to them and was able to jump down into an empty stone water trough they were tethered to.

Judith was overcome by what we saw and retreated to let me get the evidence.

 

In particular there was a brown and a grey in sickening state. I squatted down in front of the grey's head and held it. The horse was sunken and it immediately rested its head on to my knee. I swear if horses could talk - this horse was telling me it had simply given up to the misery and was waiting to die.

It choked me. I was so frustrated and so angry at the unnecessary suffering. Dr Naoum acted swiftly by detailing one of his inspectors to visit thoroughly as soon as possible, and at least this terrible stable will be under the scrutiny of the help it needs.

 

It would be so easy to condemn the owner and leave the issue there. But it goes so much deeper. Phaoronic Egyptians welcomed wild cats to their homes to keep the rodents in check. Dogs became hunters and guards and in fact all animals were revered for their usefulness and companionship in some way.

 

So it was that even animals wild to us today were tamed then. But centuries of oppressive servitude to corrupt elite leaders have taken their toll. The gulf between the money which flows uphill throughout Egyptian society has left a vast underclass in poverty; obscene corruption in parts of the administration and a system which looks to cash under the table like the breath of life!  ...And the good people of Egypt have understandably had enough.

 

 

 

 

In a bizarre twist we learned that the owner of the stable had a couple of pure bred horses tucked away on which he lavished training and care. Occasionally wealth Arabs would need a horse and these horses ensured an easy charge of multiples of the going rate for tourists. We learned also that the situation we encountered was in no way isolated. We had previously seen a horse drop dead from neglect and exhaustion when it returned from the plateau at the end of the day carrying tourists.

 

Unverified we had been told by several of the ordinary people we spoke to, there used to be shelters and water available up on the plateau. Deposed Zahi Hawass is on filmed record stating his desire to sweep away all the common villagers, along with all the animals. It was said, he had ordered the removal of the animal shelters and water facilities. The question had arisen when we raised this issue. We had never understood why animal owners on the plateau had no blended shelters and daily fresh water freely available at strategic points. We know of at least one major location where Mastabas are used to temporarily house the horses. Out of sight- out of mind!  ...And then there is The Giza Site Rehabilitation Plan; but we will get to that soon.

 

It seemed such a simple humanitarian issue with a simple solution. Even up on the plateau we photographed coffer troughs discarded, broken or empty which could have been used for water at least. We learned that a horse or camel in the constant sun could drink up to 20 gallons of water a day. For many of them they may be lucky to get none!

 

We resolved to tackle this issue, but we knew we would probably have to wait until beyond elections when a new Mayor of Giza was elected. At least in the meantime we would be able to seek permission, funding and/or sponsorship for stone-alike manufactured troughs and shelters. There is no question that the fare paying tourists would be sympathetic and welcoming to see more humanity with the animals. If not, they certainly should do after we have finished with the evidence!

 

 

 

Further afield it took no effort at all just minutes drive from the village to see evidence of the dead animal dumping at the side of the road. The birds stand like miniture vultures on the garbage piles, waiting their turn with the other predators to pick at the carcases; waiting for another animal - dead perhaps from a twisted gut filled with plastic garbage?   What other civilised administration would tolerate its heratage to be blighted by the sight of littered animal corpses in various stages of decay?

 

Egyptians in the city, you do not have to live as the poor do - amid the filth where the vital tourists explore!!

Such shame to the Heretage of a Great Nation 

 

 

 

We all know how what the Quran has to say about it:

 

Fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_animals#cite_ref-EoR.26N_1-4

We get : The Qur'an applies the word "Muslim" not only to humans but also to animals and the inanimate world.

"The divine will manifests itself in the form of laws both in human society and in the world of nature."

In Islamic terminology, for example, a bee is a Muslim precisely because it lives and dies obeying the Sharia that God has prescribed for the community of bees, just as a person is a Muslim by virtue of the fact that he or she submits to the revealed Sharia ordained for humans in the Qur'an and Sunnah

The Quran strongly enjoins Muslims to treat animals with compassion and not to abuse them. The Qur'an states that all creation praises God, even if this praise is not expressed in human language.

In verse 6:38, the Qur'an applies the term ummah, generally used to mean "a human religious community", for genera of animals.

TheEncyclopaedia of the Qur'anstates that this verse has been "far reaching in its moral and ecological implications."

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.

Qur'an6:38

Have the Social/Economic changes in Egypt over the last 3000 years been so great that they may explain the high level of animal abuse throughout Egypt now and in direct defiance of the Quran ?

 

 We have concentrated on Horses, but as much can be easily said for the fate of donkeys, camels and other smaller animals. Each is a special case, such as with the dogs. Did you know they have a hierachy? We have studied the packs who come together at nightime on the plateau. They re-establish their bonds and superiorities before settling for the night in scratched holes, only to stir with an aweful alarm if a trespasser comes near. In the morning they set off to split up and adopt a new solitary begging technique with the tourists. From the watchmen and guards they are likely only to receive a hurled stone to chase them on their way, despite their role as guards. What contrast to Phaoronic times. We have seen dogs and their puppies far afield across the plateau. We understand that strichnine poisoned meat is still used covertly by the authorities to eradicate them, and it does not seem to matter if other feeding animals die as a result. Eventually we want to conduct an accurate official survey of the animal life on the plateau so that better judgement can be used for control.For the moment we rely on money to loosen the conversations!

 

Egypt is going through huge cultural change as the ordinary people reclaim their country at last. It is said that a country can be judged by its attitude to its animals. We can only hope the change will be for their betterment too. For now with tourisim rock-bottom there are changes that must be persuaded. If not, the tourist money for animal owners will dry up completely as the tourists decline to use abused animals. Do the owners not realise how much easier it would be to get tourist customers if they learned to train and ride their animals without the use of the insidious whip? So many animals can be seen scarred from this practice, especially at the hands of young riders. Don't you realise the impact to tourists when tired horses are galloped for pleasure at full speed on the Giza roads at night? Don't you realise how badly you are damaging your animal when something as simple as stirrup adjustment for each tourist is not carried out? We are tired of seeing tourists banging away on a weak animal's back with their feet flailing alongside in slack stirrups. And tourists, why don't you wake up to these things and demand it be done?

 

The Giza Site Rehabilitation Plan

 

So before we talk about our plans to make things better it is time to travel full circle and talk about this plan.

Over on the other side of the Plateau a huge amount of work has been done towards the infrastructure for the new visitor entrance and facilities. You will not however read much about the fact that the site conceals a huge underground facility. We understand it will be used by the authorities with more than one task in mind!

 

However as a part of the new facility we have been told there is a stable. We have been told also this will be the one limited source for tourist riding on the plateau, supplimented by stage managed electric cars on a new roadway under construction. The animal use will be strictly controlled, as will the staging/ photo shoot points for tourists. We were also told that animals will not be allowed to haphazardly criss-cross the plateau as now, and at start and finish will have to make a very long circuit of the plateau to return to their home. This has very serious implications if taken together. There will be severely limited licences, and in fact one Egyptian owner spoke for many others and told us, the licence holders will be only the few favoured by the authorities - and all the current owners will be forced out. At a stroke then, when the Rehabilitation Plan is complete; the current entrances will be reassigned, and almost certainly, thousands of horses, donkeys and camels in dozens of stables will be without work. If true, it is a scandal that has not been openly addressed.

 

We interviewed many handlers and they are running very scared of the prospect. As usual there is an awareness on the ground, but little knowlege further. We want to spell out the implication to the world, but first we want to scream it out to all decent animal owners in the City of Cairo and Egypt. If the Rehabilitation plan goes forward in any way like this, you will be faced with the death or slaughter of possibly thousands of animals in the future. The roads from Giza are shamefully blighted with animal corpses now. This prospect for the future is terrible to conceive.

 

We know since the demise of Zahi Hawass, the cash backing for the project stalled. At some stage it will inevitably be revived. It is likely that many of the officials who controlled the project will no longer be there under a new administration. Many times we were told that while there is human strife during the uprising, there will be little concern for the fate of the animals in the future. But we argue that one crisis may lead to another of huge proportion in the future if this issue is not clarified and debated by Egyptians, (and especially all animal owners and organisations right now.) Such questions are as important as any other political question for the well being of poor Egyptians and to the tourist economy generally. We will see if election candidates are asked about the future of Cairo and Giza's huge animal population and dependency!

 

The Giza Foundation & The Brooke Hospital

 

 

We discussed our ideas, observations with those of the Brooke Hospital. It was clear immediately we agreed on a number of specific initiatives.

 

Some days earlier we interviewed a young but well spoken Egyptian on the Plateau. He was maybe about 19 years old but surprised us with his wisdom. He offered this about the animals.

 

Many people in the village live with their animals in their houses. It is like a throwback to ancient times. But Egyptians have forgotten the values we had during Phaoronic times. They have forgotten how to treat and care for animals properly and get the best from looking after them with love. The young could be educated in the right way in school, but for the older people; they would have to be given an incentive, maybe cash, or also a change in the law to require them to adopt some better practices. Better still for the culture to be revived according to the teachings of the Qur'an and a return to the values of previous times.

 

 

We agree! And we discussed these points with Dr Naoum.

 

(The Brook had already instigated a programme of re-education in the schools).

We will become involved with supporting this initiative in the future.

 

Where able at base level we will also support the direct funding of medication and food for cases we encounter.

 

We pledged to carry out more intense animal survey work to sharpen the focus of help in future.

 

We will lobby at all levels to confirm or squash speculations such as we have reported.

(Clearly there is a lot of alarm and dispondency due simply to a lack of communication between the authorities and the villagers).

 

We will lobby also alongside the Brooke and others for changes in the Law to improve animal administration

 

Finally and most importantly we are setting ourselves a target to provide a Giza Foundation rapid response - Veterinary Ambulance which will be voluntarily run by local veterinary doctors on a rota basis.

 

 

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These are noble and grand goals and they will only become reality if stable owners with greater wealth - especially in Cairo and Egypt can show the world how seriously it cares for its animals by giving us support and making a Donation please.

 

They will only become reality for the lives of the animals if those in the world with the same conscience, also support us.

 

They will only become a reality if the people generally in the world give each a small bit of support to achive the same.

 

We are proceding through due process right now for The Giza Foundation to be based Legally in Giza as it is in the UK

For our private pockets the cost of this process is huge and we really do need your lifeline of donated support.

 

We wish to sincerely thank those who have already begun the process.

 

Thank you all sincerely from our hearts.

Richard and Judith

 

                                                                                                                                              

 

The connection may take a few seconds

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(We will also be adding a few beautiful heart-warming animal stories from this visit to the story page very soon)

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Below you will find the Rehabilitation URL reminder and one of the evidence pages from it to study.

 

http://walycenter.org/en/heritage-planning/10/102

The abandoned Electric Car Road construction just a short distance beyond Kephren by the Helipad

 

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