Monday, 17 December, 2018

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

Donkey taxis in Santorini Greece Modal Trigger Getty Images iStock
Jeannette Daniel | 13 October, 2018, 21:11

According to CNN, with the move, tourists will now have to weigh 100 kilograms or less, or one-fifth of the donkey's body weight, if they wish to ride the animal.

However, there is no telling how this new law will be enforced in Santorini and in other parts of Greece.

The beasts of burden will no longer have to haul hefty tourists through the hilly landscape of Santorini island thanks to animal activists pushing for a ban against people weighing more than 220 pounds.

As a result of poorly fitting saddles and having to carry heavy loads, many donkeys ended up with spinal injuries and cuts.

But in recent years animal rights charities have warned that Santorini's donkeys are being exploited and mistreated by taxi businesses.

"Donkeys can still be forced to carry a person weighing 15 stone 10 pounds (220 pounds) up more than 500 steep steps four to five times a day", said Mimi Bekhechi, PETA UK's director of global programs.

These state that donkeys giving tourists rides in Santorini should not carry any loads heavier than 100kg (15 stone, 10 lbs) or one fifth of their weight.

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"Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition", reads a bulletin created by Greece's Ministry of Rural Development and Food.

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.

- Under no circumstances should donkeys be used if they are unfit for work i.e., ill animal, injured, animals in an advanced pregnancy as well as animals with poor maintenance of hooves.

More than 1000 cruise ship passengers visit Santorini each day in the high season between May and October.

In a statement, the government said: "The animals should be given appropriate and adequate food and fresh drinking water daily, into containers which can not be contaminated and are cleaned at least once a day".

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. No one could ever believe that new regulations would be set.

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