Head hanging down, the donkey presses on in the blazing heat with its extraordinarily heavy human load.
Carrying a tourist weighing more than itself, the skinny animal sometimes falters, but is urged on by the handler - who hits its hind quarters with sticks or nails.
As this shocking picture shows, animals in many destinations visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists a year still have to endure great suffering as they are treated like 'machines' by their impoverished owners and visitors.
Beast of burden: A picture from Petra released by the Brooke Charity
Now a leading animal charity has told travellers that it is time they helped put an end to such cruelty.
Two destinations of particular concern are the ancient city of Petra, in Jordan, and the Egyptian pyramids in Cairo.
In rose-stoned Petra, where this picture was taken, many are determined to climb 800 steps cut in rock to see the impressive view from the Ad-Deir Monastery.
But the trek proves too much for some, so they use the donkeys, led by locals who rely on the animals for their livelihood. Because they are desperate for money the handlers often insist no load is too big.
Cruelty: A skinny donkey struggles under the weight of a tired tourist in a shocking example of the way animals are treated at top tourist destinations
As a result, visitors heave themselves on to the animals which are sometimes smaller than their load.
Others double-up for a ride, or cram as many people as possible into a carriage pulled by a horse. The horses can be highly decorated - but the ornate coverings can hide sores caused by rubbing and the animal's protruding bones.
But while they spend all day working, the animals can go without food because owners cannot afford to feed them after tourists barter them down on the price of a ride.
One of the donkeys is urged up the 800 steps at Petra, in Jordan, by his desperate owner
Donkey and horse charity The Brooke, whose president is the Duchess of Cornwall, stressed such treatment happens across the world. 'They are living beings, they're not machines,' said Dorcas Pratt, head of international development at the charity.
'When people get on to a horse or donkey, they should make sure they match their size to the size of the animal.
Never mind whether it seems to be able to take your weight, it might be suffering from carrying that weight.'
Mrs Pratt, added that while beach donkeys in Britain have a charter detailing their rights, which includes a strict eight-stone weight limit, there are no protection regulations overseas.
She said: 'People are not deliberately being cruel, but when they go abroad maybe they lose sight of the fact the animal still feels.'
Plight: Many of the donkey are not fed properly because tourists haggle the price of a ride down and elaborate harnesses often hide sores and protruding bones
'When horses are raced against each other they are beaten with sticks, electric flex or even nails.
'Sometimes tourists might want to have a bit of fun and encourage the handler to race them, not realising how painful this can be for the animal.
'There needs to be one person per animal, the rider needs to match their weight to the animal.
'It is also important that tourists pay a fair price for the ride, as bartering the owner down will just mean they have a tighter budget, which means the animal can suffer and might not get fed.
'Choose the animal, rather than a highly decorated carriage, and praise the owner for their healthy animal.'
Give the donkeys a rest! Plea to visitors over tourist site cruelty | Mail Online