Israeli siege prevents horse medicine from Gaza
In the besieged Gaza Strip, residents are not the only ones to endure harsh psychological conditions caused by Israel’s repeated bombardments. Animals, including horses, also suffer and show symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The Israeli siege imposed on Gaza for more than 13 years has prevented the entry of drugs intended for the treatment of various disorders and diseases in animals.
The poor psychological situation of animals in the Gaza Strip has led many lionesses, for example, to refuse to nurse their young. In June 2015, Nama’a Zoo in northern Gaza turned to a dog, mother of eight puppies, to nurse the lion cub abandoned by its mother.
Commenting on the difficult psychological conditions of the horses in particular, horse breeder Mohammed Abu Zaida told Al-Monitor: “Horses in Gaza have been living in a difficult nervous and psychological state since the end of the last Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. Gaza in 2021. They urgently need the necessary health care and have to take sedatives that are very difficult to obtain. »
Abu Zaida, who lost one of his purebred Arabian horses in the last war after it was hit by shrapnel from an Israeli missile, said: “Israel is preventing the entry of veterinary drugs such as Rompun used to calm horses and treat their digestive disorders, as well as nutritional supplements such as Probios used to maintain physical strength and activity in horses. This worsened the psychological and physical conditions of the horses.
Abu Zaida noted that the psychological effects of Israeli bombardments on horses are clear. He explained: “They exhibit strange behaviors such as walking in circles, refusing to eat or drink, stamping their feet hard on the floor and banging their heads against walls. I had to sell my horses to avoid losing them due to the shortage of necessary medicines and vaccines. The average price of a horse varies between $9,000 and $15,000.
He said that even if some medications and nutritional supplements were accessible, their prices would be very high, making it difficult for the breeder to obtain them regularly for his horses. “The breeders fear the loss or death of their horses. This disastrous situation has also affected the sports performance of the horses,” he added.
Ahmed Rayan, who lives in Gaza City, owns a thoroughbred Arabian and three half-bred/half-purebred horses, whose total prices are estimated at $36,000. He told Al-Monitor: “Israel prohibits the entry of horse medicine, vaccines and supplements, which affects equestrian sports which are widespread in the Gaza Strip, with several equestrian clubs organizing local horse races and show jumping competitions and shows.
He explained that these medications and nutritional supplements are necessary for horses. “Horses are currently eating three meals a day of corn, barley and bee honey at a cost of $300 per month. Without the proper supplements, medications and essential nutrients, horses are susceptible to several diseases , not to mention losing their physical shape and form.
Rayan pointed out that three of his purebred Arabian horses were killed during the last war, after the Israeli army shelled farmland adjacent to his stable. “The remaining four horses suffer from difficult psychological conditions and display aggressive behavior running at breakneck speeds and attacking each other,” he said.
“During this time, only a few sedatives were available at very high prices. The absence of these drugs in veterinary pharmacies prevented me from completing the correct treatment of horses. My horses are expensive Arabian horses that were brought from Egypt and cost $16,000 each. I also have thoroughbreds that are $14,000 and half-breds that are $7,000 each.
He added: “Horses in Gaza are denied participation in many Arab and international sports and racing activities, due to the lack of vaccinations and proper treatments. Some horses suffer from general weakness of tendons and joints, as well as neurological diseases, which affect their activity and vitality and prevent them from running different races.
Veterinarian Hussam Moshtaha told Al-Monitor: “The Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the entry of medicines, vaccines and nutritional supplements for horses and other animals into the Gaza Strip endangers these animals that run from serious risk of catching many contagious diseases that could kill if they do not receive proper health care.
He said: “The most important drugs which cannot be brought into Gaza are Dectomax, Rompun, Tonophosphan, Buscopan and Dexamethasone, as well as Theraflex tampons and other treatments which must be administered in a to treat and control diseases in a timely manner.
Moshtaha concluded: “Some animals are showing clear signs of psychological distress and have become more aggressive. But it’s not just horses that are affected, other animals like dogs and cats also suffer.