We are no stranger to animal abuse: ranging from cruelty toward circus animals, to abuse towards animals in private and public zoos. Cases of wild animals like cheetahs and baby tigers being kept as pets by jaded wealthy people in various locations, including the United Arab Emirates have also been reported.
These are occurrences that happen all too frequently, unfortunately; and despite concerted efforts by animal rights activists and various public awareness groups, the practice of abusing, torturing, and killing both wild and domestic animals continues unabated all over the Middle East and the world at large.
A more recent sad story of animal cruelty occurred just recently when my wife and I went to Jerusalem with another couple in the hope of seeing snow there during an unusual spate of cold rainy weather. We arrived in the Holy City on a very cold and blustery Saturday; and although no snow was anywhere to be seen, the temperature hovered around 4 degrees Celsius, with strong winds, intermittent rain showers and dense fog.
Upon arriving at the top of the well known observation point on Jerusalem’s Mt. of Olives, the cold winds were blowing at more than 30 knots and rain mixed with sleet was blowing into our faces from the northwest. Except for a border police patrol vehicle parked at the far end of the observation point parking lot, the four of us were virtually alone to take in the panoramic view of the Old City below us; alone except for a camel that on warm and sunny days is available by his Bedouin owner for tourists and other visitors to be photographed on as a souvenir of their visit.
On this particular day, however, there were no visitors, except for ourselves, and even the unfortunate camel’s owner was nowhere to be seen.
The poor beast was hobbled by a chain of which one end was connected to its mouth and nose and the other end to a metal post. There was no food or water set out for the beast ; and the place it was standing in was very dirty, containing trash that was mixed with its own droppings. Now camels are supposed to be be very durable and persevering animals that can go for days without eating or drinking. They are also said to be able to withstand all kinds of extreme climate and weather conditions; especially those found in desert regions like the Sahara in North Africa and those on the Arabian Peninsula as well.
Despite these virtues, this poor member of the Dromedary camel species was obviously not enjoying being hobbled there in such inclement weather. We asked one of the border policemen about the whereabouts of the camel’s owner and were brusquely told to mind our own business, adding that this camel doesn’t seem to mind being there. The cops said that the camel’s owner would return later to fetch him, but I wonder if this was true.
Seeing this poor beast hobbled there by a chain tied to its mouth and nose was surely a sad reminder that animal abuse and cruelty goes on, and will continue to do so.