Massive starvation of horses in Bangladesh’s most popular tourist area shows that the country’s tourism industry is suffering from the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At least 21 of the 90 horses serving tourists at Cox’s Bazar beach have died in the past month, while the rest are also struggling, according to Farida Begum, a spokeswoman for the Owners’ Association Horses in Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh.
“When Covid-19 hit, the number of tourists dropped to a very low level, just like a trickle. We are struggling to make a living. How do we feed the horses?”, Ms. Begum talk to AFP . During last year’s blockade, 41 horses, including Begum’s eight, died, she added. Dozens of horses in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, starve to death because their owners can’t afford to feed them. Photo: AFP. At Cox’s Bazar, people often keep horses to rent to tourists when they go out on the beach. The owners of the horses say they are struggling to have enough money to buy hay for their cattle. Some owners have freed their horses, in the hope that they can make a living on their own. Not to mention raising cattle, horse owners here say they also struggle to feed their families. Many people, including Ms. Begum, have to borrow money from small lending companies to make ends meet. “Every week, employees of the loan company come to my house to collect installment loans. But, if tourists don’t come to Cox’s Bazar, I don’t have the money to pay,” Begum said, adding that she borrowed about $1,200. Dozens of horse riders, often hired by horse owners to teach tourists how to ride, have turned to cart drivers or masons. Like many other countries, Bangladesh is struggling with a new wave of Covid-19. The health system is bearing the brunt, and lockdowns have been imposed across the country.