(photo credit: Sharon Udasin)
Transportation Minister Israel Katz will soon sign a new regulation that
prohibits the movement of animal- drawn carts in all city streets, the ministry
said on Tuesday.
The country’s existing Traffic Ordinance currently
recognizes animal-drawn carriages as an authorized means of transportation,
meaning horses and donkeys can pull large loads and objects down the streets,
the ministry explained. However, not only do many cart drivers neglect their
animals and deny them food and medical care to the point of exhaustion, but they
also cause a safety hazard on the roads due to their slow movement, according to
The office became more aware of these issues when the
animal rights organization Hakol Chai approached Katz about forbidding the use
of animals as of transport, the ministry said.
In response to Hakol
Chai’s request, Katz brought the topic for discussion to his ministry’s
coordination committee, which handles procedures and regulations. Adhering to
the group’s recommendations, the committee then formulated a new regulation
prohibiting the movement of carts and wagons drawn by animals on urban roads,
except in moshavim and kibbutzim.
The phenomenon of animal- drawn
carriages plagues the roads of many of the country’s cities, including Tel
Aviv-Jaffa, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Nahariya and others –
posing threats to drivers and pedestrians alike and causing unnecessary traffic
jams, the ministry said.
One of the reasons the carts have become so
prevalent is because peddlers are able to lease them for just tens of shekels
per day, as opposed to the much larger fees they must pay for automobiles, Hakol
Chai had noted in its appeal to Katz. Meanwhile, the animals are receiving poor
medical treatment and very little food, and some are succumbing to cruel deaths
from exhaustion, illness and hunger, the organization had written.
regulation will be submitted for approval to the Knesset Finance Committee with
the convening of the new Knesset and is expected to take effect within six
months, the ministry said.
In response to Katz’s decision to push forward
a carriage ban, Hakol Chai praised the minister for adopting the organization’s
resolution after its long struggle against the trend. “This is a very
significant step toward animal welfare in Israel in general and cart-horses in
particular,” the organization said in a statement “This is a widespread
phenomenon in many cities throughout the country, which frequently brings with
it hundreds of complaints to the organization from passersby, who cannot stand
the sight of emaciated horses. The implementation of this regulation will
prevent great suffering for many horses.”