Horses stuck in Istanbul to be sent back to their cities

Horses stuck in Istanbul to be sent back to their cities

İdris Emen - ISTANBUL
Horses stuck in Istanbul to be sent back to their cities

Some 222 horses, which have been illegally brought to Istanbul from various cities in Turkey to be used as carriage horses on the Princes’ Islands, will be sent back to their original cities.

The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry’s Istanbul provincial directorate will provide transportation for the horse owners.

The decision came after horses were stranded in Istanbul’s Beykoz district for two months on the grounds that a quarantine was previously imposed on Büyükada—the largest of the Princes’ Islands—following the discovery that there were still horses reportedly infected with glanders disease.

In October 2017, officials visited Büyükada examining close to 1,300 horses, of which 18 were infected with the disease. This raised concerns among Büyükada locals, as the disease can also infect humans. The infected horses were then killed, after which a quarantine was imposed in December 2017. Officials announced they would later visit the island periodically to conduct examinations.

Despite the quarantine ban, 222 horses were brought to Istanbul to be used as carriage horses on the Princes Islands’, which were then kept in a farm in the Beykoz district, growing weak with time under the scorching sun and lack of care. Time to time, the owners of the horses resorted to giving the horses vitamin injections.

Meanwhile, authorities fined the horse owners 9,000 Turkish Liras (roughly $1,865) on charges of illegal animal trade.

The poor condition of the horses used to pull carriages on the Princes’ Islands has been a widely discussed topic in Turkey recently, with footage emerging of 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 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.

Princes' Islands,