The Gili Islands, which is part of Indonesia and close to Bali, are three small, tropical islands with no cars or motorbikes. Although it sounds like an idyllic paradise, it is anything but! Animal cruelty and abuse is rampant on the Gili Islands and business and political leaders need to end the HORRIFIC carriage horse business and replace them with solar powered Tuk Tuks.
Gili Islands is home to the long suffering and poorly treated carriage ponies-YES they capture ponies from neighboring islands and put them to work sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. They are emaciated, have little rest, drink salt water and have no medical care. They have no pasture in which to graze and they are always hitched up to a carriage. They live a miserable existence because their owners do not know how to care for them. The ponies are moneymakers, worked to the bone and then slaughtered and replaced when they cannot pull any more. They were once wild horses that were captured and now brought to the Gili Islands to begin their life of slavery. They ARE clearly ponies because of their small size, which ranges from 11-14 hands - but the locals call them horses- which they are not.
This is an eye- witness account of a tourist who visited the Gili Islands: We recently visited the Gili Islands for a vacation. But when we saw the horrific work conditions of the emaciated carriage horses, we cut our trip short. On our first day, we saw a carriage break under the weight of tourists and the pony went flying in the air only to be beaten by his owner. Many of the ponies were suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, visible open wounds and swollen tongues. They looked beat down and exhausted.
We were shocked at the uncaring blasé attitude of the drivers who seemed to feel our concern was humorous. We learned that because there is very little fresh water on the island, the horses drink a mixture of salt water, which is sickening. When they are not shuttling tourists around, the horses work up to 18 hours a day in the unforgiving heat hauling heavy loads of stone and building supplies. We learned that there is no vet or farrier on the island, which deprives the horses of the most minimum of care. These are PONIES and they are not strong enough to pull these extreme weights.
Every tourist we spoke with felt as we do -- that it should be an embarrassment to the local business leaders of the Gili Islands. But this condition has been allowed to fester for many years with no thought to fixing it.
Please see these videos of the conditions in the GiliIslands:
We are asking for the following:
- Business leaders - all the hotels - newly planned and existing - and political leaders - take this very seriously or risk losing money on their investments. Companies that deliver goods to the island get involved in this solution.
- Work with Jakarta Animal Aid to implement the rescue and placement of all the horses in a sanctuary
-Invest in and implement the solar powered Tuk Tuks, which could transport tourists and cargo -- besides being humane the carriage drivers will keep their jobs and can easily learn how to operate these vehicles.
We, the undersigned, ask those who represent these interests to take the advice of this petition and shut the horse carriage industry down and replace it with solar powered Tuk Tuks. This is an opportunity for the Gili Islands to be the first eco friendly and cruelty free island in Indonesia and would bring lots of positive press to the islands. Tourists DO NOT want to see theses ponies suffering.
As potential tourists we take the pledge not to visit the Gili Islands or Indonesia until this issue is resolved in favor of the horses and will tell others to do the same. There are many more humane vacation spots in the world that will get our business.