Hidden horror behind tourist camel rides as animals ‘starved, beaten with sticks and hit in testicles’

FOR many of the half a million Brits who visit Egypt every year, camel rides are a must, up there with seeing the pyramids and sunbathing on the famous beaches.

But now, an investigation reveals the hidden horrors behind this popular tourist activity – with camels beaten with sticks, forced to walk in the blistering heat with no food and even hit in the testicles.

For as little as £7, many UK holidaymakers have ridden past The Great Pyramid of Giza and other ancient sights on a camel’s back, often stopping to snap a selfie with the animal.

However, less than an hour’s drive away from the monuments and mass of hotels, camels are allegedly being beaten until they ‘scream’ at Egypt’s biggest camel market.

Hundreds of the creatures are being sold off every day at the massive market in Birqash, which sits only around 20 miles away from the pyramids and the Saqqara burial site.

And shocking new footage, obtained by animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), shows the ‘cruel’ treatment some are forced to endure.

While one clip shows an injured camel standing in the heat with blood streaming out its nose, another captures an animal desperately trying to flee as it is whacked with sticks.

Other camels are apparently struck in the testicles and left ‘foaming at the mouth’.

PETA, which shared the footage with Sun Online, claims many camels giving rides to holidaymakers at The Great Pyramid and Saqqara come from ‘cruel’ markets.

An investigation by the organisation’s Asian arm found that some of these animals are left ‘screaming’ in pain before being sold off to give ‘endless rides in the heat’.

When they’re no longer useful, some of the animals are allegedly returned to the markets and sent away to be slaughtered for meat. Although camel meat isn’t a typical restaurant dish, it is eaten by many locals.

PETA is now calling for a ban on the use of working animals at Egyptian tourist sites – and is urging Brits and others who visit the country to not ride the creatures.

“Tourists who pay to go for a ride are keeping these operations in business,” it says.

In 2017, around 319,000 Brits visited Egypt. The number last year was expected to reach 450,000.

Although it’s not known exactly how many tourists go on camel rides, a quick Google search brings up numerous travel sites promoting such treks.

One site reads: “Enjoy a camel ride at Giza Pyramids for 2 hours during the sunrise or sunset. Mount a camel and ride it through the desert to the base of the Great Pyramid.”

Another says: “A camel ride is a must-do for every first-time Egypt traveller.”

There is no suggestion these companies are using camels who have been abused.

And PETA claims camels aren’t the only animals suffering due to tourism.

It says horses are also forced to haul visitors in carriages and on their backs at the country’s tourist hotspots, ‘without shade, food or water’ and amid scorching temperatures.

At The Great Pyramid, horses were allegedly seen being whipped so people could ride them.

Some were reportedly spotted with gaping wounds on their bodies.

In a particularly distressing clip, one horse collapses while pulling a tourist carriage in Giza – before apparently being beaten with a stick to encourage it to get back up.

Another clip shows a different horse skidding to the ground.

The organisation claims: “Many horses used for rides in Giza and Luxor had painful, bloody wounds and were forced to wait in the scorching sun for the next paying customer – without food, water, or access to shade.

“Emaciated horses whose ribs showed through their skin were repeatedly yanked and whipped.”

It adds: “At the notorious Birqash Camel Market, men and children were observed viciously beating screaming camels with sticks. Many of the animals’ faces were bloody, and one camel foamed at the mouth.”

PETA Director Elisa Allen told Sun Online she wants the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism to replace all ‘abused animals’ with electric rickshaws and other modern vehicles.

She said, this way, Brits and other holidaymakers can appreciate the country’s rich history ‘without supporting cruelty to animals’.

She said: “It’s disgraceful that exhausted, emaciated animals in Egypt are beaten and whipped into giving endless rides in the heat, even as their legs buckle and they collapse.