Animal World
Respecting All Beings: Jordan's Humane Center for Animal Welfare      
Hallo, warm-hearted viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. On today’s program, the first in a two-part series, we’ll visit the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan and the non-profit organization the Humane Center for Animal Welfare, which promotes “kindness and humane behavior towards animals.”

The group, which was established in 2000, achieves this goal by rehabilitating and sheltering injured wildlife, providing free veterinary care to animals with economically disadvantaged caregivers, conducting informational programs, performing animal rescue work and supporting animal-welfare legislation. The Center opened a veterinary hospital in 2007, the first of its kind in Jordan. Margaret Ledger and Nadia Hamam, co-founders of the Humane Center for Animal Welfare, explain how it all started.

We started from a simple plot of land that we own. And here we are now; in six years’ time able to help the community in different ways of services for them. We are divided in two main sections. The first is the veterinary section, and we treat them all for free. The second thing is our education program, which Nadia runs and takes care of.

Actually, the educational program is very important to solve all the problems of the animals. And another objective of the educational program is to plant a seed in the students’ minds, how to become humane people with everything around them, with other humans, with the environment, with everything in society, in the world.

Teach them compassion, respect for life. And we think this is very, very important.

It is the most successful, educational program in Jordan. And the students, they are responding very well to the teachers. So it is a wonderful program.

There was a nice agreement with the Ministry of Education. And we formed animal clubs in the government schools all over the Kingdom (of Jordan). And we concentrated on boys and girls from ages nine to 17. So it’s moving along very nicely. And we formed the Jordanian Day for Animal Welfare. This is the fifth year in Jordan to really celebrate in April, a Jordanian Day for Animal Welfare.

What changes are seen in students after participating in the program?

A lot of the students are coming to our Center to treat their animals. So yes, there are a lot of results now. And there is respect for the animals.

In addition to operating the animal hospital and providing informational programs in Jordan’s schools, The Humane Center for Animal Welfare encourages the government to protect the rights and lives of animals through legislation.

We are working with the government now, the municipality, the different ministries on putting regulations, laws on, for example, the zoos, the pet shops, the breeders. We’re working on it. So there’s a lot happening in licensing with the municipality. We have fantastic programs with the municipality of Amman, and things are moving along. Pet shops, we’re doing now some regulations, circuses, and the zoos. So we get a lot of support from the government. And now it's just working out very nicely. And we thank the municipality and thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture and other government departments that are really helping out.

And we’re working a lot and very well with our member society, which is called the World Society for Protection of Animals in England. And they were the ones to fund half of this hospital. And the other half was funded by the Ministry of Planning in Jordan. So it's going on very well.

The Humane Center for Animal Welfare also offers animal-therapy programs for children with special needs.

So we have programs for abused children, we have for the mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, orphanage children.

We have different programs: the deaf and the dumb and the blind children. They come in for beautiful animal therapy and you can see the difference. And we’ve got lots of pictures around here that shows part of the program that we do. And some art is behind us. And you can see all this has happened in our Center.

The Center staff also performs animal rescues. One animal saved was a donkey trapped in a cave.

So we had to get a nice rescue team of about 10 people to be able to get a huge donkey out of that cave. And which we did and it was right up on the top of a mountain, (we) had to bring him down a very steep hill, that was one of the things.

A horse fell into a well and that well was nearly four meters deep.

And I’m glad the water, I mean it was the end of the summer and the water was probably about 1.5 meters depth. And that was just the water reaching his neck. We had to call the civil defense. They helped us out a lot. And I think in two hours’ time we were able to rescue the horse. We receive a lot of calls where cats get into the drains and behind walls and stuff like that which we need to rescue them and we do it. Yes. We’re called and immediately and go. Yes.

The Humane Center for Animal Welfare receives support from citizens, the government and especially Jordan’s royal family. In February 2006, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan attended a ceremony celebrating the laying of their veterinary hospital’s foundation stone, and also graced its official opening in March 2007.

I thank the Royal Family for all the support, the mental support and the moral support they give us, everything. Her Majesty started with the idea of having a park for educating children and learning through fun, and this is how it all started. So the idea started growing, and then we had discussions and meetings, because education is very important. And this is how it started growing.

The government gave us all this land, which is about 20,000 square meters. And we had a couple of meetings. The government supported part of it. The other part was from the World Society for Protection of Animals. And then we started establishing this place.

I thank very much (Her Royal Highness) Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein for supporting the veterinary project fully. She’s just taking care of the project to keep it going. And she gets us a lot of veterinarians to train our veterinarians in Jordan, and really supporting this place in many different ways. So I do thank the Royal Family for all their support.

What makes Margaret Ledger and Nadia Hamam feel so deeply committed to protecting animals?

I think animals, they’re full of feeling. And, they’re just speechless. And we must really understand their needs. And they are God’s creatures, just like anybody else. They have rights on this Earth. And it’s our responsibility, really, to be taking care of them. As human beings, we have a big responsibility towards them. They cannot speak, they cannot explain, but there is something in their eyes that we see. And we have to respect this.

And if you respect them, I think we respect God for what He created for us. So I don't think the world would look very nice without all these lovely creatures around us, whether they’re flying in the sky or crawling on the ground or under the sea. They're just beautiful. And they complete our life. It's just we believe in this strongly.

All religious and spiritual traditions advocate treating animals with utmost love and care. The Humane Center for Animal Welfare is bringing Jordanians and animals closer together through the ageless wisdom of spiritual texts.

I think all the holy books in this world mention about kindness to animals. And if you are a good religious person, I think you should follow all this. And I believe there should be respect for them. I think in the Qur’an, in the Islamic religion it says that animals are a miracle. And I believe in this. And there’s lovely talk about it in the Qur’an; kindness to animals and respect for them.

And Nadia, agrees with this idea because we’ve got a couple of sayings now hanging in different places in the equine hospital. It’s sayings from the Qur’an about animals and respect to them and so on. Compassion and respect for life. This is also what Nadia teaches to the young little ones when she goes for her lectures in the schools.

Actually, we talk a lot about the religion and the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad, how he was dealing with animals. And with all this evidence, it is easy to convince the students to make it like examples in their life. So this is how we are concentrating with them. And we talk about it. It is ethics. How you deal with animals is how you behave with other people. So it is your ethics.

Bravo, Margaret Ledger and Nadia Hamam, for your high-minded beliefs, your diligent work and especially your establishment of the Humane Center for Animal Welfare in Jordan. May the lives of the beautiful animals of Jordan continue to be touched by your kindness and consideration for them.

For more information on the Humane Center for Animal Welfare, please visit:

Gentle viewers, thank you for your company today on our program. Please join us again tomorrow on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, when we’ll meet some of the donkey, horse, dog, and cat patients at the Center’s hospital, as well as the loving staff members who care for them. May all beings on Earth be forever respected and loved.
Hallo, superb viewers, and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today we present the concluding episode of our two-part program on Jordan’s Humane Center for Animal Welfare.

The non-profit group, which was established in 2000 by Margaret Ledger and Nadia Hamam, rehabilitates and shelters injured wildlife, gives free veterinary care to animals with economically disadvantaged caregivers, conducts informational programs, performs animal rescue work and supports animal-welfare legislation.

The Center opened a veterinary hospital in 2007, the first of its kind in Jordan. Let’s now meet two veterinarians Ivan and Stefanie, who are part of the Center’s staff and will give us a tour of the facilities and introduce us to some of the animal patients and residents.

I’m an equine vet from Holland. And I work here one month off, one month on, to exchange knowledge about how to treat animals.

I’ve been working here since July. It’s really nice. And I like it here.

Now, let’s begin our tour of the Center’s beautiful animal hospital. Our first stop is the grooming area, where smaller animals are taken when they first arrive.

So today four dogs came in, two puppies and two big dogs. We give them a nice hot bath, and we treat them with a special shampoo. And then we dry them. Of course we give them a nice meal, let them dry a little bit and then they can spend a night at the Center.

This dog and the other dogs are cared for by a boy who loves these dogs very much. But because a lot of people don’t know how to take care of their animals, they come here and we help them with bathing the animals, vaccinating the animals and de-worming them, and teach them how to treat their animals.

So we consider that our responsibility is not just treating the animals, but teaching the people who keep the animals how to take care of them.

Our next stop is the surgery room, where a veterinarian is performing a procedure.

So now they are proceeding with a standard surgery, which is called the spaying of the female dog. We do that because we don’t want to have too many puppies. We like to work also with students. So these are our veterinary students. (Sophia and Mohammad) They are here to learn these operations.

We have the surgery room equipped with a window for the kids to come and see, because the responsibility of our hospital is just not neutering the animals. It’s extending to the kids, for them to see what we do to the animals, and to start teaching them how to be kind and nice to animals when they are young.

The Humane Center for Animal Welfare is working together with the municipality. And this is the humane way to do stray animal control. So they bring in the stray dogs and we will spay and neuter them. And there are a lot of other ways to reduce the amount of dogs, but this is the nicest way.

This is the intensive-care unit. All animals who need more care than other animals will stay here. For instance, you can see this dog. This dog had surgery this morning and is still a little bit drowsy from the surgery, from the medicines he took. He is just waking up and we like to keep him here in this dark and quiet area so he can recover nicely.

This will be our next patient for the day. This is a bulldog and he has problems with his eyes. The eyelids roll inside, and the hairs are touching his eyeball which is really painful. We can do a so-called “face lift” to make sure he feels better. This little one, they just washed him and bathed him, and he’s waiting for his new caretakers to come and pick him up. So he’s going to look forward to a happy life.

This dog we call Anna Deane. This is after the lady who brought her into the Center. She found this dog on the street and she brought her in two weeks ago. You can see also one of her eyes is blind. And we found out she was pregnant. So now she's here to deliver her puppies and we are going to find a good home for her and her puppies. We saw on the X-ray that there are for sure at least three puppies inside.

The Center takes care of animal friends of all sizes, including horses.

So this is the equine area. Most of the horses here they come here with a pickup truck or a little truck, so they are just on the back of the pickup tied, no roof, no protection from the sun or anything. They come and arrive here on the outside. Because standing on a pickup it’s difficult to go down, you have to jump, but if you are injured or sick you don’t want to jump. So now the pickup is going to drive with the back here and then the height will be not so big and they can jump in the sand, because some horses they come here because they have a lot of wounds, and then it’s not nice when you have to jump on the concrete, very deep.

After that they will go in here and one of the vets will start working with them, we do some paper work. If we examine the horse, it’s most of the time in the crush, you can see the crush over there.

It’s more easy to restrain them. And after that we make decisions which horses go home and which horses stay.

This horse came in two weeks ago. She got scared of machines working on the road. She heard the shunt and she ran away. And she ran with her body into a fence, so all her skin here on her upper arm was off. You could see the bone and the joint, and it was all big wounds. So we try to suture it, of course, but because it was so big it will open partly. Now we try to support her with a sling. And she is nine months pregnant, so we are just trying to save her.

The name of this horse is Qaul. And he’s here because on his left foot, he stepped on a nail and it gave him an infection in his foot. So we opened the infection and now we treat him with medicines. And he’s a lot better now. And he’s very nice, but a little bit shy. These are all donkeys. So this one is blind, another one has a rupture of the abdominal wall.

More donkeys. This one is also blind. You can see the eye, (yes? He’s singing a song for you. This little one was found on the street. So we try to re-home most animals; we have to find a suitable caregiver for him. That’s not always easy.

We asked Stefanie and Ivan how they feel about working at the Humane Center for Animal Welfare.

This is just an amazing place. It’s an honor to work here. I cannot say it’s otherwise. You just fight for every animal, to give it a good chance (to survive).

The nice thing that we have here is that we have a special way of treating animals. We get to love them every way, day by day. It’s not just giving injections. Our responsibility as a vet is much more, bigger than that. Treating is not the only thing we have to do here. We have to raise the limits of mentality of the people who have donkeys, horses and dogs, for them to know how to take care of them.

Here are some final thoughts from the co-founders, Margaret Ledger, the Center’s Director General and Nadia Hamam, Director of the Center’s Educational Section.

We’ve got to go hand-in-hand together to spread out in the world, raising awareness. Be kinder, have a bit of compassion and respect animals. Try to help out, whatever you can. It starts from baby steps and it grows nicely. I saw it, and Nadia saw it, how from day one we started with baby steps, and here we are. If you really believe in what you’re doing, you can make miracles.

And only in a short time, in six years’ time, we’ve done quite a lot. We saved a lot of animals. We changed a lot of peoples’ attitudes, whether they’re adults or children. You have to have the idea and the belief in your heart and just keep going. Never give up. Just get together as a group and work nicely for animal welfare.

Be humane with animals and respect each other, respect the animals, respect everything around us. Respect this Earth which we live on, and save it. And keep it nice for the next generation.

Thank you very much and thanks for coming to Jordan and visiting our Humane Center here and helping us out so people get to know us and what we’re doing. Thank you again.

Margaret Ledger, Nadia Hamam, Stefanie, Ivan and the rest of the wonderful staff at the Humane Center for Animal Welfare in Jordan, your selfless, high-minded devotion to caring for animals and your efforts to touch the hearts and minds of the Jordanian public on the animals’ behalf is to be roundly applauded. May you all enjoy continued success in your noble work.

For more information on the Humane Center for Animal Welfare, please visit:

Thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. May we all soon reside in a peaceful, vegan world.

 Alanna Devine, Guardian of Animal Welfare 

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