Antalya coach horses given early retirement
ANTALYA – Demirören News Agency
The owners of the horses handed them to the officials from the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, marking the first step in their new life in the Mediterranean province. They were taken from the Yeşildere neighborhood to the zoo in the Döşemealtı district up in the north on June 10.
Locals favored the decision to halt touristic carriage rides which have drawn reactions from animal rights defenders.
“It’s very good. The carriages didn’t befit the city center. It’s good for the horses, too,” said Neşet Altuntaş, a local.
“There has never been a culture of horse-drawn carriages in Antalya,” said Ramazan Günal, another local, adding that the horses used for the commercial service were badly treated and the coaches caused pollution and stunk.
Antalya Mayor Muhittin Böcek, who was elected in the March 31 polls, on May 24 announced that the horse-drawn carriages would be banned across the province as of June 10.
According to the metropolitan municipality’s council decision, 20 coachmen would be employed by the municipality, he added.
The Aegean province of İzmir’s district municipality of Kuşadası, which was also won by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the local elections, had banned carriages pulled by horses for touristic rides on May 13.
Last week, the coordinator of the non-governmental organization Don’t Use Carriages, Horses are Dying Initiative (“Faytona Binme Atlar Ölüyor” in Turkish) told a parliamentary commission that the number of coach horses dying on the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul every year doubled in the last four years.
“The coachmen are taking the injured horses and taking them to high spots on the islands, leaving them to die,” said Elif Ertürk Narin.
“A majority of the coaches in Turkey are on the islands off Istanbul [Princes’ Islands]. We see them being forced into working on the asphalt, which is not at all appropriate for their nature, and die on very high hills in the winter cold and in the hot in the summer,” said Narin during her presentation.
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, said Narin in her presentation at the Parliament’s Animal Rights Research Commission.