Greek island of Santorini bans 'obese' tourists from riding donkeys

The road to the sea is down famously hilly steps

123RFThe road to the sea is down famously hilly steps

The new law limits the load donkeys can carry to 100 kilograms (220 pounds), or a fifth of their body weight, reports The Greek Observer.

With more than five million tourists stopping at Santorini for a visit each year, the donkeys have no shortage of eager riders.

A representative of animal rights group PETA told CNN the move is a "throwaway" gesture that "won't prevent the daily suffering that these donkeys endure".

While this is a small victory for Santorini's animal charities, they say the island's donkeys are still overworked, and forced to carry heavy loads of garbage or building equipment up and down Fira's steps all day long.

Animal rights advocacy groups such as the aforementioned one publicized the maltreatment of these Greek donkeys and garnered tremendous media attention, which in turn prompted the influx of complaints made to Greek government officials.

According to The Metro, lawmakers in Greece passed a new set of regulations regarding the safety of rideable donkeys after images surfaced in July of obese tourists riding the animals up the narrow steps of the Greek island of Santorini.

The donkeys have traditionally been used to carry tourists around the famously hilly island with its hundreds of cobbled steps.

"Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition".

Owners must also provide adequate food and fresh drinking water from containers that must be cleaned at least once a day, and ill or injured animals, along with donkeys in advanced pregnancy, must not be worked. "This situation continues to Santorini for many years and can not be solved in one day, but we won the fight thanks to the attention of the worldwide media towards this issue", she added. No one could ever believe that new regulations would be set.

Leader of the Athens branch of Direct Action Everywhere, Maria Skourta, said: "We were content with the bulletin because the objective of our organisation is to bring matters to light and initiate conversation".

"But our goal is not to improve the lives of slaves, it's to free them entirely".

"[While this means they will stop carrying obese tourists], the donkeys are still forced to carry cement, appliances, and all sorts of heavy weights".

Latest News