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Animal rights in Morocco

Rights and welfare

There is always an interesting debate concerning animal rights and welfare in Morocco.

According to the amount of travelling achieved by each individual, there is only a certain level of tolerance for information we’re ready to receive.

After years of hearing feedbacks of clients, we wondered how could we talk about this subject with enough knowledge and tact.

Both for animals and for Morocco.

So here we give a wider view to our readers by sharing thoughts we have about animal welfare, their rights in Morocco and how conscious travel can speed the change.

Jemaa Le Fna This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic license BY Stephen JMason
Picture Jemaa EL Fna Square Marrakech Morocco April 2013. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license BY Calflier001

Human living conditions

This is a developing country, of which inhabitants are also developing more and more respect towards animals. In fact, associations start being considered more seriously, gaining more support.

But people of this country are also still fighting for their own rights.

  • A better education
  • Improved life expectation
  • Improved health care
  • Better equality rights for men and especially women

Those lucky enough to have received an education may understand that it is a privilege that has multiple facets and could help considerably: it serves in improving their lives by helping in improving the lives of those around.

It is a duty for those who have received an education, a proper education, to re-draw the line of respect for life, be that human or animal.

Giving from the overflow is necessary, we can’t expect people to give from an empty bucket.

Official activism for animals

On today’s date, there are no laws yet that can guard, in a safe way, the right of animals.

Many legislations are partially applied, being discussed or developed and associations are savvier about laws – conscious about their intermediary role in this society.

The path is still long, as long as it has been in many other countries before Morocco.

In fact, we as tourists, always make a mistake, a genuine mistake that reveals itself noxious: 

We think we are coming from the righteous place.

Before giving any kind of suggestion, we should think to our own countries, specifically our country-sides, 30 years ago or more.

Culling of stray dogs, exploitation of working animals…many of us has already seen it all once, and it still happens in our countries.

Without jumping to conclusions, it would be of a great impact to do something first.
Stick to supporting the good associations that exist here in Morocco and use tourism providers that commit in giving back to the 4 legged community.

The main purpose of these associations is assuring the wellbeing of the animals, and with our contributions, they will be able to do more and more.

They will be able to get closer to the authorities, to make sure that people who hurt animals will pay the consequence of cruel actions. That who does not have the chance to see beyond their own realities can have the chance to expand their comprehension on this subject of animals welfare and rights in a more inclusive way.

Another continent – another pace

Our society guides us to see only the problem most of the time. Each time we do this, we lose our ability to find the solution before our eyes.

I will not expect someone who’s not able to take care of himself to properly do it for a living being – that for lack of education – he’s considering only as a tool that allows him and the family to survive.
Life is very hard on some people here, society is too strong as a community and “melting away” the old ways is hard.

licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licenseBY Jorge Lascar
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jlascar/7346224926/ Snake Charmer at Jamaa el-Fnaa / Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license BY Jorge Lascar

What is charming to every person visiting this country is it’s the naturally slow pace and as we can imagine, sudden changes are a hit or miss.

Criticizing the behaviour will not take us to our goal. Encouraging the right behaviour such as charity work, volunteering, activism and not turning our heads will.

Little, constant changes are effective and long-lasting, allowing everyone to absorb the new, the unknown concept of compassion towards those who cannot speak.

Personally, I am an animal lover and a person who spent enough time in Morocco to understand that our every individual role is to build a bridge to facilitate the understanding of certain concepts that are too far from other people.

Our role in every country

We are all facilitators, there is no way of speaking harshly about something we can’t deeply understand from both sides.

Yes, we agree that animal cruelty is wrong and that something needs to be done. 

Actively and immediately we all do have a choice:

Decisive statements

  • not taking pictures with the monkeys in the square Jemaa le Fna
  • or the goats tied in trees
  • or the falcons and snakes charmers in the square, in the mountains or in Essaouira
  • not buying reptiles like turtles and chameleons in the souks too.
  • not using the popular “caleche”, the horse-driven carts that throttle tourists around all day long (pre covid) and are then left to virtually rot in their own hell after work is another personal choice that can have an impact. 


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International licenseBY Elena Tatiana Chis
Goats in an argan tree, Morocco / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. BY Elena Tatiana Chis

Yes, we cannot take away the chance for people to earn a living as they always did. But we can – with our choices – have some influence on a slow and steady change. Pushing working opportunities in other directions, possibly far from the lives of innocent animals.

A role model

We have decided not to list and advocate the organisations in Morocco who we believe are working well towards rights for animals as our role is not to sit in judgement of those who are and those who aren’t. However, as a business we do support and have 100% faith in one organisation which we have spent so much rtime with and known for so long that we have no hesitation in maintaining the relationship we have with them and ask that you also check them out. 

Jarjeer Donkey Refuge
Jarjeer Donkey Refuge

They are Jarjeer Mule and Donkey Refuge located just outside Marrakech.

Animals in tourism

Here at So Morocco and our affiliate company Walking with Nomads, we are totally against the use of wild animals in tourism under any circumstances. In some of the wild areas of Morocco, there are wild monkeys and we are happy for you to stop in these regions to try and get a sighting but not to touch them.

Regarding domesticated animals, our view is that the use of donkeys and camels in Morocco for tourist purposes is very much part of the culture. Even if you do not ride one, you will most certainly benefit from their hard work as nothing moves in and out of the souks and medinas, without them.

As we wish to respect the local culture and bring conscious tourism into rural areas which use donkeys, mules and camels as transport for themselves as well as tourists, we prefer to find a way for this to sit comfortably with us.

In the desert we use only the camels belonging to our own guides.  Most camps use one or two camel providers who have hundreds of camels who, in our opinion, are not cared for correctly. We have only a few and they are much loved, respected and well cared for by Hammid and when they are not working, they are free to roam and graze.

Hammid Nomad Guide & Camel
Hammid and 1 of his much loved camels

With donkeys, we encourage various local initiatives to help ensure that the donkeys we use are in good health and well treated and if you see anything of concern, please let us know.

Let’s make it actionable

The priority of the government should be its people, and our responsibility as people is to impact positively other lives, minimize our damage.

Let’s fund, invest, and make this consciousness something more and more familiar. 

Something easier to be talked about and discussed with more sensitivity, passion and interest.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have any ideas? Are you from a developing country and have some information to share? Tell us in the comments!

Blog written by Burcin Yetim. Burcin has written several of the blogs on our site, have a look through the blog pages to find many interesting articles.


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