January 27, 2008  




Carthorse in Jaffa


Cart horse in Jaffa

On December 30, 2007, a special session of the Tel Aviv City Council met to address, for the first time, the problem of horse and donkey abuse in the city. The meeting came as a result of a proposal and recommendations submitted to the Council by Hakol Chai's attorneys in April 2005, followed by more than two years of continued pressure.
The sight of emaciated, beaten, injured, and lame horses and donkeys pulling carts overloaded with heavy construction materials is common in Tel Aviv traffic. The animals are forced to work long hours without water or shade, under a blazing sun or heavy rain. When they can no longer stand, they are often abandoned on garbage sites or by the side of the road to starve to death.
Hakol Chai's recommendations included a ban on horse-drawn carts in the city, granting permits to keep these animals only after annual inspections and approvals by equine veterinarians, and establishing places where abused horses can be taken temporarily for rehabilitation, after they are seized.

Hakol Chai demonstration at Tel Aviv City Hall


Outside the meeting, at the entrance to City Hall, Hakol Chai activists demonstrated in support of banning horse-drawn vehicles. Other organizations joined Hakol Chai's campaign, including the Green Party. The city also received numerous complaints from tourists. Inside the meeting, attended by many owners of cart horses, Council head and Mayor Ron Huldai said he will first make efforts to enforce an existing municipal bylaw that makes permits conditional upon the owners providing proper food, maintenance, and veterinary care before he will consider a ban on these vehicles. His decision was made despite the fact that municipal veterinarian Zvi Galin made clear that the city does not have the resources to investigate cruelty cases and seize horses who are abused.
The forum was a first step that puts the city on record as promising to bring about change, but clearly, we must keep up the pressure for a complete ban. CHAI first began urging city officials to take action to prevent horse abuse in the summer of 1999, after rescuing a severely abused horse in Jaffa, the old part of the city. Officials brushed aside our concerns and municipal veterinarian Zvi Galin consistently ignored our calls reporting abuse and refused to take action to help the horses. In 2001, Hakol Chai exposed a major abuser of horses in Jaffa, Nissim, who was starving and selling horses, providing no veterinary care, and shockingly, hacking them apart with an axe in front of each other and selling their meat in the market as beef.



Nissim's horses before rescue


When an undercover video of the killings taken by a TV investigative reporter aired on a popular TV channel, Nissim's place was temporarily closed down. He reopened again, and Hakol Chai organized a raid on his place in 2003, which again exposed horrendous cruelty. After that, he was shut down permanently. Still, the city took no action to investigate the condition of other horses in the city and remove those being abused from their abusers. In April 2005, Hakol Chai's attorney submitted its proposal to the Council, urging it to, at last, confront the problem in a special session, and to consider its recommendations.
"In the 21st century, there is no place for horses and donkeys in city traffic," Hakol Chai representative Omer Ginzburg told reporters at the demonstration. "Many cities worldwide have already prohibited using horses and donkeys within their boundaries, among them Las Vegas, London, Paris, Beijing, and Toronto. A New York City Mayoral candidate expressed his support for a similar prohibition in his city. On the eve of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary, it is time Israel followed the lead of these more humane cities.

Please urge the Mayor of Tel Aviv to ban horse-drawn carts from the city.
Sample Letter

Dear Mayor Huldai,
In the 21st century, horse-drawn carts do not belong in city traffic. The numerous accidents caused by these carts and the suffering of the horses shows that it is dangerous, both for animals and people. Tel Aviv's municipal veterinarian has stated that the city lacks the resources to routinely inspect these animals and remove those abused from their abusers.
The only humane solution is to ban these vehicles from the city. Please act to bring Tel Aviv into a more humane 21st century.

For detailed information about horse abuse in Israel, see our website.
Mayor Ron Huldai
Tel Aviv City Hall
69 Ibn Gvirol St.
Tel Aviv 64162, Israel
Postage from U.S. to Israel: $0.90
You can also write to the Mayor on the Tel Aviv Municipality's website at


Please help CHAI post ads around the city, urging residents to press the Mayor to ban these vehicles.  Send your tax-deductible donations to:
CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or donate through our website.



Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson

CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302

Phone: 703-658-9650