Duvar English 

A recently-released parliamentary report recommended the removal of the horse-driven carriages that transport people around Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands, instead calling for the use of electric vehicles. 

The issue has been the source of much controversy in recent years, due to the poor health and conditions in which the horses work and live.

Many activists have called for the banning of the horse-driven carriages, but the drivers themselves have fought hard to keep them, saying they would lose their source of income otherwise. 

The parliament’s Animal Rights Research Commission recently completed the report, and Parliamentary Speaker Mustafa Şentop said that he hoped the amendments outlined in the report would be signed into law. 

They included provisions that would make it a crime to torture, beat or otherwise treat animals inhumanely, and would require municipalities to allocate a segment of their budgets for the protection and care of animals. 

Reports indicate that 170 horses working on the islands have died in 2019 alone. 

Earlier this year, the cities of Izmir and Antalya and the town of Kuşadası banned the use of horse-drawn carriages. Activists insist that the Princes’ Islands horses are overworked during the summer and suffer from exhaustion, noting that they frequently appear emaciated and haggard, to the point of passing out and dying while at work. 

At the beginning of this year, nine horses were killed on Büyükada, the largest of the islands, when a stable caught fire. The islands notably lack treatment facilities for the animals.