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Municipality prohibits horse-drawn carriages in Princes’ Islands

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 16: People ride their electric-powered tricycles as a phaeton passes near them on an autumn day in Buyukada of Prince Islands of Istanbul, Turkey on November 16, 2017. Environmentally friendly electric vehicles are being used widely in Prince Islands, the only district in Turkey where fuel-consuming vehicles are not allowed. The Prince Islands, consist of Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada, do not host fossil fuel-consuming vehicles other than fire truck, police cars, ambulance and some municipal vehicles. In the whole of the islands there are phaetons for passenger transport and horse carriages for freight transport. There are also a large number of bicycles, as well as cordless vehicles such as rechargeable electric bicycles, scooters, motorbikes and golf carts. Erhan Elaldi / Anadolu Agency

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality announced on Monday that they will prohibit horse-drawn carriages in the Princes’ Islands while introducing electric carriages instead, following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks on animal rights during a campaign rally in İstanbul yesterday.

“We are conducting a project to rescue horses in the islands from the yokes of carriages,” Erdoğan told the crowd, the Diken news website reported.

Video footage showing that horses had died from heavy labor recently went viral and sparked outrage among the public.

A campaign named “Don’t use carriages, horses are dying” had been launched a couple of years ago, which collected more than 350,000 signatures to stop the use of horses in the Princes’ Islands and other touristic destinations in Turkey.

According to an Animal Rights Watch Committee (HAKİM) report, 272 carriages were drawn by a total of 1,540 horses in the Princes’ Islands, and official data showed that almost 400 horses were dying every year under difficult work conditions.

The new electric carriages will accommodate a maximum of 12 people and will first be used on Kınalıada, although the statement from the municipality did not mention the date their use would begin.

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