Animal lover and ex-MP Ann Widdecombe has toured the Giza pyramids area in Cairo to see the plight of horses facing starvation there amid the ongoing political unrest.

As Egypt’s visitor numbers have plummeted, hundreds of emaciated carriage horses that are usually used for tourist excursions are now suffering severe malnutrition.

DSC_0124Around 48 per cent fewer tourists visited the country in the last quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, leaving many of Cairo’s carriage drivers without an income and unable to afford feed.

Miss Widdecombe visited Giza with the British animal charity the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) to see their work helping malnourished horses, and travelled to an area on the outskirts of the city that has become a dumping ground for horse carcasses.

DSC_0052She said: “Tourists will stay away from Egypt until political stability returns and in the meantime horses will suffer.

“It has been truly shocking and heartbreaking to see the plight of horses here, especially the area that’s become a makeshift horse graveyard.  I commend charities like SPANA for taking action to feed Giza’s horses, saving their lives and securing the future incomes of carriage drivers reliant on the tourist trade.”

SPANA is funding an emergency programme to provide basic rations for 200 horses per day.

DSC_0059Jeremy Hulme, SPANA’s chief executive, said: “Thousands of people rely on the tourism industry for their income in Egypt and can’t afford to feed their families at the moment, never mind their animals.  This is why our emergency feeding programme is absolutely vital to help keep animals alive until tourism returns.

“Tragically, many horses and camels in the area have already died; they are truly the forgotten victims of this crisis.”

DSC_0052The feeding programme is being run in association with SPANA’s partner organisation the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends.

Warning: this video contains footage you may find distressing