Eighty-one horses were killed on Dec. 19 as a result of glanders, an infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses and can be contracted by other animals such as dogs and cats, according to a statement issued by the district governor’s office of Adalar, the district in Istanbul Province that includes the Princes’ Islands.
The office also announced that no animals are allowed to enter or exit Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul’s nine Princes’ Islands.
“All animals that belong to the Equidae family (horses, donkeys, mules) in our district are subjected to health screening twice a year in accordance with the related legislation,” the district governor’s office said in the statement.
“As a result of the analyses carried out this year, some horses in Büyükada have been diagnosed with glanders. Since there is no treatment and vaccination for the disease, the animals that have been diagnosed should be culled in accordance with the relevant legislation,” it is noted.
“For this reason, 81 horses, whose test results were finalized and found to be infected, were killed in accordance with the provisions of the relevant legislation. The process to determine whether to kill the other animals from the Equidae family whose test results are uncertain continues,” it said.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu made a statement about the killing of the horses in Büyükada.
“There are many neglected issues in Adalar district. Ninety percent of the problems will be solved in the first half of this year. The issue of carriage comes first,” he said.
Around 1,500 horses are used for transportation purposes on the Princes’ Islands, where vehicular traffic is banned.
They are particularly popular among day-tripping tourists visiting the island.
Despite the widely condemned poor conditions of the horses on Büyükada, there are no treatment centers on the island, and there are no works underway to keep the hundreds of badly treated horses healthy.
The Animal Rights Watch Committee (HAKİM) issued a report in 2017 about the state of horses used with carriages in Turkey, stating that 1,540 horses are being worked on 272 carriages on the Princes’ Islands, 230 of which are on Büyükada.
Some 400 horses die due to accidents or squalid conditions every year, the report stated. Also, according to the records of the Municipality of Adalar, in the first nine months of 2019, 170 horses died only in Büyükada.
The Turkish authorities have announced in 2018 that electric cars would soon replace the horse-drawn carriages on Princes’ Islands amid public outrage over the cruel treatment the animals have endured for decades.
However, no concrete steps have been taken yet.
Animal rights activists and authorities are still discussing the possibility of using electric cars on the islands.
Hurriyet Daily News