Cart tricycle program saves horses in Edirne, Turkey

Horse carts have been a staple in Keşan, a town in Edirne province in northwestern Turkey, for decades. The local municipality’s new project aims to eliminate the practice of residents transporting loads and people in rustic horse-drawn carts and giving new life to draft animals. The horses have been replaced by electric tricycles and are now housed in a stray animal retirement home.

Sevinç Cebeci, who runs a local animal charity in the town, said the horses would be given to their new owners – provided they are not used for transporting goods – after undergoing rehabilitation and a treatment for injuries suffered for years. work by pulling carts. Hasan Nural, a veterinarian at the shelter, told the Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Monday that they had received 12 horses so far and 34 more would arrive soon.

“They are now in stables and we are treating and caring for them. They will later be shipped to farms or individuals who want to own them, but only as pets. They will not be forced into labor duties. transportation,” he said. Nural said most of the horses were not cared for properly by their previous owners and they were caring for them in full health. “It will take them another 10 or 15 days to fully recover,” he said. “They were confused when they arrived here. It was the first time they had roamed freely, without any burden, in such a big space. Now they feel comfortable,” he said.

Cebeci praised the municipality’s project, which she said addressed a public concern for animal rights. “We hope they will be better cared for. Horse cart owners have been given tricycles, but the authorities should do something to prevent them from buying horses again. They could impose fines, so this practice will belong to the past,” she said. She vowed they would monitor the new horse ownership process so they don’t fall into the hands of owners who use them to haul heavy goods.

Last year, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and other municipalities came under fire when it was discovered that several IBB horses sent to other cities for adoption had allegedly gone missing. These horses were earlier rescued from the much-criticized practice of being used to pull horse-drawn carriages serving tourists on Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands. Animal rights activists had welcomed the decision while several other municipalities had joined Istanbul in abandoning the practice.

Although less common these days, thanks to electric alternatives like tricycles, horse carts are still used, especially in disadvantaged communities in rural Turkey or in small towns like Keşan. Owners say they are being properly cared for, while animal rights activists say prolonged use of horses and donkeys to transport goods or people amounts to torture, which is punishable by law. prison sentences under a landmark animal rights bill introduced last year.

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