Cruelty on the Princes’ Islands

Cruelty on the Princes’ Islands

Last Sunday, Aug. 16, animal rights advocates protested against horse-drawn carriages, which are used as transportation on the streets of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands.

I do not know the exact number of demonstrations but the whole summer has passed and there has not been any positive development on this subject.

Many horses continue to dye of exhaustion and torture. The system of physical violence goes on and the owners of the carriages continue to profit off the horses.

In an article titled “The tragedy behind the scenes of the leisure of horse-drawn carriages” six years ago, journalist Neslihan Tunç of daily Sabah gave some horrible details about this issue:

“Horses who are punched, birched, stabbed by the stablemen, horses whose tongues are cut out …

Stablemen who not only torture the horses but also attack the locals of the island, even dare to threaten them with death …

Those who carry five or six people in a four-person carriage, those who ask for more money than on the initially designated price list …”

The article was written long ago but how much progress has been made?

Considering that just last week, we saw the news about a horse thin and frail and in agony by the road…

Considering that the demonstrations have not diminished but have increased…

It seems we have been unable to reach a conclusion.

In the meantime, we should also remember what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the election rally on June 17: “As you know, we see heartbreaking images of the horses used as carriages on the Princes’ Islands. On this subject, we have made the necessary decision. We are developing a project to save the horses from the yokes of the carriages and to ensure their freedom. We are the children of a civilization, which has founded a foundation for animals, built birdhouses and whose Prophet offered condolences to a child who lost his cat.”

The system must be very powerful since nothing has changed over the whole summer, in spite of all these demonstrations and even the support of the highest posts in government.

More than 1,000 horses are used for more than 270 carriages on the Princes’ Islands, most of them are in Büyükada.

Most of them are not cared for or fed enough and are kept in unbearable conditions in stables.

For more money and more profit, they are forced to work with beatings, without pausing for hours and on sloped asphalt roads.

Most of them die in horrible conditions due to illness or cruelty.

Dead bodies of the horses are seen around the island. They “get rid of them” by throwing their dead bodies in the sea.

All of this happens in spite of a practical suggestion of using a more economic and environmental-friendly electrical carriage.

This much disgrace is enough. Whoever can should take responsibility and put an end to this cruelty immediately.

Kanat Atkaya, Prince's Islands,