Activists call for ban on horse-drawn carriages on Istanbul’s Büyükada
ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
'Don't use horse-drawn carriages, we are dying!'
Animal rights activists have staged a protest calling for an immediate ban on the use of horse-drawn carriages on the Büyükada Island off Istanbul’s coast, a perennial issue that is yet to be resolved by authorities.
The activists demanded that electric cars be used instead. During the protests some activists put on “horse-face” masks.
“Our purpose is to underline the difficulties those horses suffer from. The sea is full of the carcasses of dead horses. We gathered here today to say ‘enough is enough,’” Esra Yıldırım, a protester, said.
“Transportation on the island would still be possible without using those horses. Electrical cars or a rail system could be alternative means of transportation. We are not against the carriages altogether, we are against making horses pull the carriages,” she added.
Footage showing an injured horse in Büyükada being dragged away by its owner under heavy rain had stirred outrage on social media last week.
During the protest, a quarrel erupted briefly between the activists and the carriage operators, who say they depend on the carriages for their livelihood.
The poor conditions of the horses on Istanbul’s Prince’s Islands have been a widely discussed topic for years, with several footage showing horses collapsing and falling to the ground due to exhaustion.
The horses have an average life expectancy of just two years, rather than the average 20 years for healthy horses, and 400 accidents occur every year on average due to their squalid conditions, according to a report published by the Animal Rights Watch Committee (HAKİM) last year.
There are no treatment centers on the islands and no works underway to keep the badly treated horses healthy.
In June, authorities announced electric cars would soon replace the horse-drawn carriages on the islands. The electric cars and minibuses, which can carry up to 12 people, will initially be tested on Kınalıada and then put in practice on other islands as well.