Monday, November 16, 2009

Tel Aviv Municipality Bans Horse-Drawn Carts

Horse, cart and a heavy load in YaffoCHAI (Live) and HaKol Chai (They All Live) animal rights groups’ campaign to ban cart horses in Tel Aviv, and eventually around the country, achieved its first goal with the banning of horse-drawn carts from Tel Aviv streets. For over a decade, CHAI and its sister charity in Israel, Hakol Chai, pressured the Tel Aviv municipality to regulate, and later to ban, the practice of horses pulling heavily-laden carts through city streets. These animals are often starved, beaten, made to work in the hot sun without water, and not provided with veterinary care. CHAI was the first organization to raise this issue and the first to undertake a campaign to ban horse-drawn carts.

CHAI first presented its concerns to city officials in 1999. When they were rebuffed, CHAI repeatedly exposed incidents of horse abuse in Jaffa, the old part of Tel Aviv, and rescued and rehabilitated abused horses. In 2005, Hakol Chai’s attorney wrote letters to the Ministry of Transportation, the Tel Aviv Mayor, and other mayors around the country to raise awareness of the issue and to call for a ban on the practice. Hakol Chai also organized an international letter writing campaign to government officials. Hakol Chai’s formal written proposal to the City Council resulted in the Council holding a special meeting to discuss the issue. The municipal veterinarian at last sided with Hakol Chai in saying only a ban, not regulations, would work because the city lacks the funds to inspect horses and has no facility to house them when they are removed from their abusers. The Mayor, pressured by cart owners, continued to decline to impose a ban. In 2009, 350 supporters of Hakol Chai’s campaign crowded into a Tel Aviv venue featuring a protest concert at which popular Israeli singers volunteered to perform. This event was a part of an international coalition of organizations throughout the world called Horses Without Carriages International that seeks to end horse-drawn carts and carriages. At long last, Tel Aviv’s Mayor issued a ban. Hakol Chai is planning to continue to pressure mayors of other cities around the country into doing the same.

Source: CHAI / Hakol Chai press release

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