Group campaigns against horse, donkey carts

Animal rights group Hakol Chai contends horses, donkeys often rented to peddlers for minimal prices, receive no vet services.

December 27, 2011 03:07
2 minute read.
Horse cart, Tel Aviv

Horse cart, Tel Aviv_311. (photo credit: Courtesy Hakol Hai)


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Animal rights group Hakol Chai launched a campaign protesting the use of horse- and donkey-drawn carts on city streets, stressing that the practice causes suffering to the animals and danger to human passersby.

The horses, the group contends, are often rented to peddlers for very minimal prices and typically receive no veterinary services, inadequate food and water supplies and hazardous living conditions. Not only do the horses themselves frequently suffer from exhaustion, malnutrition, disease and abandonment, their presence in city streets often dangerously disrupts human and vehicle traffic flow, a release from the organization said.

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Some particularly problematic cities include Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Kfar Saba and Netanya, according to the group.

In order to combat the phenomenon, Hakol Chai has launched a “Witnesses Campaign” on its Facebook page, asking residents to take photos of horse carts with their cell phones.

“The response from concerned citizens upset by these terrible sights has been overwhelming,” said Tal Sahar, a senior official at Hakol Chai, in the release. “Municipal authorities have shown themselves to be incapable of enforcing animal protection regulations. A law banning the practice is long overdue.”

Today, only the police and the Agriculture Ministry have the power to enforce the existing national Animal Protection Law, which they often fail to do and which does not specifically address animals working in urban environments, the organization said.

While the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo did agree to ban the carts in 2009, the municipality did not end up having the resources to effectively enforce the ban, according to Hakol Chai.

To that effect, the group sent a letter on Sunday appealing to Interior Minister Eli Yishai, asking that he issue a model bylaw for cities that would prohibit the use of these carts on city streets, as has occurred in many cities throughout the world, according to Hakol Chai.

In the letter, the organization also suggested that the same officers who ticket illegally parked cars be assigned to fine those using horse- and donkey- drawn carts. In response to a query from The Jerusalem Post, however, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said that the movement of horses in city streets is under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Ministry, not the Interior Ministry.

The Interior Ministry cannot require cities to enact bylaws within their borders, especially since roads are outside the responsibilities of the local authorities, the spokeswoman said.

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