Stop the Horse Massacre on the Islands, Start Using Electric Alternatives to Chariots

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In İstanbul, on the Prince Islands, horses are still used to pull chariots. Recently the Islands have been closed down to everyone due to Ruam disease, a disease that the horses carried.

We have received the news that the horses who were claimed to carry the Ruam disease have been killed. The number of horses that have been killed is reported to be 81. However, this number is expected to increase.

How the diagnosis of the disease took place is not made clear.

Even though no veterinarian was assigned to the 1800 horses on the island, and the method of carantine was in place, in June 2018, 209 more horses were sent to the island.

We would like to highlight the fact that the graves of the horses are being dug, and these horses are forced to go to the island against their own will where they are left to die for some people to earn money.

The horses who were given death sentence had no share in what caused their loss of life. On the contrary, this massacre that has been planned is a policy that Istanbul City Hall keeps on exercising.

The president of Istanbul City Hall Ekrem İmamoğlu promised that he would stop the use of chariots if he would be elected president. On March 27, he has personally signed the 'I promise' section of 'Our Votes are for the Animals' campaign and in the interview which he gave on 20th of June, he stated that the use of chariots would end. In spite of this, he has not kept his promises after the election.

Previously, we made an appeal to the press on July the 12th in front of the Istanbul City Hall building and invited İmamoğlu to keep his promises during "The Island Transportation Council" which was organized on August the 28th, yet our calls remain unanswered.

Every new day means death and exploitation for the horses that are made to pull the chariots.

The horses who were whipped and forced to work during hot summer days face cold and sickness during the winters.

In all cases, death and torture are what the horses suffer as a result of the chariot policy.

This process which can result in a great public health hazard is carried out in secrecy by those in charge and threatens not only the health of the people and the animals on the Prince Islands but the whole city.

The Parliamentary (TBMM) Research Commity members state in their report that a number of horses live in the same place and the conditions are at a level that could threaten the health of the animals and the humans.

The disease of concern can spread to both non-human animals and humans, and even if the animals who carried the disease are killed, the disease can spread through the secretions of the animals which can contaminate the food sources.

The reason we are in this alarming situation today is the persistence Istanbul City Hall has on using chariots pulled by horses as a means of transport.

There are no terms which we, the animal rights activists, can agree to cruelty which is attemped to be justified through tradition, culture or other means.

What we demand:

• The best possible measures to be taken for the health and safety of all the animals on the Prince Islands, and if necessary extending the practice of carantine,

• Starting an investigation about the responsible individuals who did not provide the necessary health care for the horses, primarily the Agriculture and Forest Ministry city and town councils, Istanbul City Hall, the Islands City Hall and all the institutes in charge,

• Sharing the test and laboratory results of the horses diagnosed with the disease and the method of killing of the 81 horses (and the others diagnosed with the disease) with the public,

• Putting ecological transportation alternatives on the Prince Islands as soon as possible,

• Making sure the horses will never be used by humans for racing, carrying heavy weight, as an object of gambling and any other reason. Along with that, ending the chariots pulled by horses as a means of transport and if requested, giving the chariot workers ecological employment possibilities under the roof of the municipality,

• Securing the horses' right to live by building a sanctuary where the horses saved from the chariots can live freely until the end of their lives, where their needs will be met and they will live away from any danger and threat in cooperation with volunteers and non-governmental organizations.

After the incident, the chariots pulled by the horses are stopped for 3 months. However, the chariot will still be used as a "nostalgic" form of transportation. Animal suffering can not be nostalgic. Therefore, we request all the chariots to be replaced with an ecological alternative, such as an electric chariot, offering employment opportunities to the chariot workers.


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