Ban cruel horse and cart transportation – Bali and Lombok

Target: Travellers to Indonesia, specifically Bali and the Gili Islands; hotel owners/managers in Bali and at the Gili Islands.,

I have been gathering information about recent animal suffering I witnessed at the Gili Islands. I visited Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno, where the ponies/horses are subjected to awful abuse. I spoke to many locals who are upset at the suffering they see, and many said that the animals (which are used for transporting people and items around the islands) are frequently hit; they are often made to work many hours without rest, whilst enduring the heat; they sustain wounds and injuries and are made to continue working, and horrifically, the only water available to them is seawater as there is no fresh water on the island (other than bottled water to buy). I’ve also been advised by other concerned people that these ponies/horses don’t usually reach five years of age, as their kidneys fail them after having to drink saltwater continuously.

It amazes me that animals can be shipped over to these islands to work, where there is no fresh water available for them to drink. They are being condemned to death sentences if owners aren’t forced to provide the basic necessities of life for these animals, and many only care about the profits they gain from exploiting these animals.

Whilst the Gili Eco Trust provides vet treatment for the island horses three times per year, they state on their website that,

“deep teeth and gum cleansing can take at least half an hour to hour and most owners don’t want to lose that much time during their working day. Not all ponies are lucky enough to have a committed owner willing to give them the time to get all of the treatments so some only get their wounds tended and off they go.”

It seems that the only thing many owners are driven by is money, and so future laws to protect these animals are needed – for example, imposing penalties where horses are working for more than X amount of hours without rest; where horses don’t have access to fresh water; where wounds or injuries are not treated, etc. If money is the only motivation for many of these horse owners, then monetary penalties may be the only language they understand.

I’m hoping desperately that you can do something to help these animals. I’ve now become aware that the same practice is occurring in Kuta, Bali – a place I’ve visited many times previously, and there is absolutely no need for this form of transportation as there are so many scooters, cars, etc. already on the roads. Falling witness to this animal suffering is deterring me from returning to Bali and The Gili Islands – and I hope that many other tourists will feel the same way.

I have many photos of the horses including a horse being made to continue working with an open wound on its leg; horses being made to stand in the heat whilst their owners sleep in the cart, or sit in the cart with friends waiting for business to come in (carts which are heavy, thus preventing horses from resting during these times); fatigued horses, breathing rapidly, switching from foot to foot to try to relieve muscle strain; most horses with scars, and ribs showing; horses frothing at the mouth – likely from illness and/or exhaustion… I have videos, too.

These animals have no voice, and rely on kind people to speak up for them and defend them. Can you please help?

• We need laws to protect these animals.
• We need to discourage tourists from using the horses for transportation.
• Hotel owners/managers can assist by advising tourists against using horses for transportation.
• An alternative mode of transport (mainly for the Gili Islands) needs to be considered.
• Horses need to be returned to the mainland of Lombok, where as a minimum, they should have access to fresh water to drink.

Thank you.

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