Greece Bans ‘Overweight Tourists’ From Riding on Donkeys, Animal Rights Activists Celebrate
Animal rights activists in Greece have achieved an important milestone in protecting donkeys on the tourist island of Santorini.
Greek lawmakers have banned overweight and obese tourists from riding on donkeys. The move came after donkeys bearing obese tourists in the Greek island of Santorini were reported to suffer injuries including broken spines. Activists circulated images of donkeys transporting overweight tourists up the famous winding steps of places of interest in Santorini.
The city of Santorini is hilly terrain very popular tourist sites not accessible by car and difficult for tourists to traverse on foot. Donkeys have traditionally been used for transport to difficult terrains in the capital of Fira and other places, but activists say increasing numbers of overweight tourists are overburdening the donkeys. People today also overload the donkeys with cement, building materials and other heavy loads.
New Guidelines Prohibit Donkeys Carrying More Than 100kg
The country’s Ministry of Rural Development and Food published new guidelines for using donkeys for transportation purposes. With the new legislation, donkeys are no longer allowed to carry people or loads heavier than 100kg, or one-fifth of their weight. Also, only donkeys deemed in top-health should be used for work, and donkey owners were warned against using ill, injured or heavily pregnant animals as well as those having bad hooves for work.
“The animals should be given appropriate and adequate food and fresh drinking water daily, into containers which cannot be contaminated and are cleaned at least once a day,” the new guidelines state. “Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition. The load cannot exceed the weight of 100kg or one-fifth of their body weight.”
Prior to the passing of the legislation, several animal rights groups and advocates had filed complaints about the plight of the donkeys. The animal activists claimed that donkeys work long hours each day and week with little shelter, rest, or water, causing them to become very sick.
In addition to broken spines from carrying overweight tourists and heavy loads, some donkeys have suffered from broken legs and untreated wounds as well. Older and pregnant donkeys are also being used to transport tourists.
While animal rights activists in Greece are celebrating the development, some are still pushing for a complete ban on using donkeys for transportation.
Maria Skourta, 42, the leader of the Athens branch of Direct Action Everywhere, told Metro UK: “We were content with the bulletin because the purpose of our organization is to bring matters to light and initiate conversation. ‘But our goal is not to improve the lives of slaves, is to free them entirely. [While this means they will stop carrying fat tourists], the donkeys are still forced to carry cement, appliances, and all sorts of heavy weights.’