Scandal, mystery lingers over Istanbul’s missing horses

Via Daily Saba | 12 May 2021 |Istanbul, Turkey

Horses saved from pulling carriages on Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands have triggered a new scandal years later. Investigations have revealed that the animals, sent all across Turkey by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), disappeared. IBB and the municipalities they delivered the animals to have come under fire, while new reports show that some of the horses may have been secretly smuggled into or sold to Iraq. Animal rights activists, in the meantime, are questioning the state of the remaining horses on the islands which are reportedly kept in unsanitary conditions.

IBB delivered the horses to several municipalities across the country after a ban on horse-drawn carriages was enacted on the city’s Princes’ Islands in 2019.

The issue of the horses, which has been discussed for more than two years, received renewed attention thanks to a statement from Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Deputy Head Cahit Altunay on May 1.

Altunay, who is also responsible for Environment, City and Cultural Affairs, criticized IBB for its poor management of the process in a meeting on May 1.

He said after the horse-drawn carriage ban IBB demanded to take over the process of rehabilitating and transferring the horses to their new homes, which was the duty of the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry and was going well. Soon after, the shipments of horses stopped and the whereabouts of 978 horses remain unknown. • Read more »

A horse drawn carriage passes by in a street on the island of Buyukada off Istanbul on November 29, 2019. - It's one of the classic excursions in Istanbul: a boat journey to one of the car-free Princes' Islands followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. But the carriage rides have become increasingly controversial in recent years as activists sound the alarm over the welfare of the horses. Some 400 a year are dying on the islands, a parliament committee reported in October, and activists say the real number is twice as high. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)
A horse drawn carriage passes by in a street on the island of Buyukada off Istanbul on November 29, 2019. It’s one of the classic excursions in Istanbul: a boat journey to one of the car-free Princes’ Islands followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. But the carriage rides have become increasingly controversial in recent years as activists sound the alarm over the welfare of the horses. Some 400 a year are dying on the islands, a parliament committee reported in October, and activists say the real number is twice as high.
(Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP — Not filed with this story).

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Featured Image: Horses are seen in their stable on Büyükada, Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Hatice Çınar)

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