Santorini is a perfect vacation spot for those visiting Greece. This is an island associated with beautiful views, bright architecture, cliffs, beaches, and quaint towns. One of the most popular attractions for tourists is climbing the island’s famous steep steps. But instead of doing this on foot, many people ride a donkey. This is the traditional Greek way of doing it, and it’s easier on the legs. Nevertheless, the practice of selling donkey rides to visitors is gaining a reputation for animal abuse.
According to new reports emerging from Santorini, using donkey rides is attracting criticism from animal welfare groups. They argue that the animals are being forced to carry excessive numbers of increasingly overweight tourists. These poor animals are commonly used for carrying people up the steep hills day in and day out in scorching temperatures with no shelter, water and rest, activists claimed. Additionally, they wear ill-fitting tack that pinches and chafes, and they often slip on the path, sustaining injuries that are poorly managed.
Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos told the Guardian, “The campaign is about to start. Representatives from the cruise liner association were here in my office this week promising to raise awareness [of the problem] and from our side we’ll be distributing information leaflets. Our mules and donkeys are part of our tradition. Younger owners, especially, have understood that they need to be looked after.”