Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Ban on big, fat, Greek donkey rides: Santorini stops overweight donkey riders

Greek donkeys no longer in heavyweight class thanks to hefty tourist ban Donkeys wait for tourists to take them up steps on Greek island of Santorini in this undated
Steven Clarke | 13 October, 2018, 21:11

"Any load can not exceed 100 kilograms or one-fifth of the animal's body weight", the ministry's new rules stipulate.

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

"The holiday season on islands is now a lot longer than it used to be, meaning that the donkeys are pretty much working the whole year round".

In an effort to protect its animals, Greece has banned overweight tourists from riding donkeys.

In July, the animal rights group Help the Santorini Donkeys began petitioning for a weight restriction for donkey riders, as increasing numbers of overweight tourists have been reportedly opting to ride - not walk - up the steep hills of the popular cruise ship destination.

The activists claimed the animals were forced to endure long hours seven days a week with no rest, water or shelter.

The new rule was introduced after images of donkeys climbing the narrow steps of the Greek island of Santorini with overweight tourists hit the headlines worldwide, according to Daily Mail report.

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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.

Besides several health and hygiene rules laid down for donkey owners, the government bulletin states: 'Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition.

"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".

"Despite the fact that it's only a 30 minute walk ... or two minutes by cable vehicle, these donkeys are used as cruel transportation for people who want the "real Greek" experience", the petition said. No one could ever believe that new regulations would be set.

"Our goal is not to improve the lives of slaves, (it) is to free them entirely", said Maria Skourta, the leader of the Athens branch of Direct Action Everywhere.

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

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