Activists hold protest against horse-drawn carriages
ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
Wearing masks, the demonstrators held photographs of injured horses and banners reading “Let horse carriages be banned” during the protest on the evening of June 16.
The protesters shouted slogans and continued their demonstration for about two hours at Kadıköy Square.
Zülal Kalkadelen issued a press statement on behalf of the group regarding the protest.
“We want horse carriages to be banned on the [Princes] Islands [off Istanbul], in other provinces of Turkey and in other areas of the world, for the horses to be saved from the whips cracked on their backs and for the wheel of this bloody sector, which does not fit conscious, common sense and justice, to be stopped.”
Kalkadelen said that the horses were “without ceasing made to run on asphalt roads and in broiling hot [weather], and when winter comes, were left aside and were made to search for food in the garbage.”
Carriage horses’ “pain and despair are reflected in their tired eyes,” and they came to “learn how to learn how to manage with a little amount of grass and water,” Kalkedelen said, referring to the horses as the “slaves of tourism and nostalgia.”
Animal rights activists have long been drawing attention to the poor conditions of the coach horses across Turkey.
These horses are also used for transportation on the four main inhabited islands off Istanbul. Many groups have denounced negligence and abuse of the horses, particularly in the summer season when the islands become an attraction for locals and tourists alike.
The horses are usually kept in restricted and unsanitary places during the summer, while abandoned to their own fate in the high parts of the islands during the winter.
There are 275 coaches registered at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Directorate of Transport Coordination (UKOME), and about 1,200 coach horses live on the Princes Islands.