Being the voice of the voiceless and fighting for the animals’ welfare and rights, advocates and rescuers have a lot on their plate. This wouldn’t be the case if every human being was equally mindful about the importance of treating all living beings with utmost respect.
One case that concerns people from all around the world is the inhumane treatment of the donkeys of one of the most popular tourist destinations, the Greek island of Santorini. This place has some of the best beaches and lots of natural beauties, but sadly, a cruel tradition of tourists traveling up the famous steep steps riding donkeys too.
Although many people visit the place because of this unique and authentic experience, it’s the animals who suffer with every tourist that gets to sit on their back for so long, every single day.
The poor donkeys end up with sours from the heavy weight, as well as severe spinal injuries. Recently, the animal welfare and rescue charity The Donkey Sanctuary launched the campaign “In Their Hooves.” The goal is to raise awareness of the consequences the donkeys suffer from being ridden by tourists.
A PR officer at The Donkey Sanctuary stated:
Our In Their Hooves campaign aims to encourage tourists to stop and think before using donkey taxis to climb the steep steps at Fira port,
It suggests holidaymakers consider whether donkeys and mules are being treated humanely, have enough shade and water, as well as whether loads they are being asked to carry are suitable.
If not, other options, such as walking or taking a cable car, might be a more responsible mode of transport.
Following our meeting with the mayor of #Santorini, we’re delighted to see that the steps have been significantly improved. 🙌
We’re looking forward to seeing the repaired shelters that will give donkeys the shade, rest and water they need. 👍 pic.twitter.com/1LzRrNb19W
— The Donkey Sanctuary (@DonkeySanctuary) 27 March 2019
A little progress had been achieved after Santorini made a decision to ban those weighing over 220 pounds from riding the donkeys.
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 they need to be looked after.
View image on Twitter
Greek island of #Santorini: GET OFF THE DONKEY!
Walk your big, lazy self up the hill or don’t go up it at all. Some are lame, saddle sores galore. pic.twitter.com/wTmhtSBKFy
— Ingrid Newkirk (@IngridNewkirk) 6 August 2018
Santorini has enough enjoyment to provide for the tourists even without their tradition of using donkeys. We really believe both the state and the people visiting it would finally understand the donkeys are not objects but animals with soul.