Update: As donkeys and mules continue to be abused for tourist rides on the Greek island of Santorini, PETA Germany gathered at the Greek embassy in Berlin to hand in a petition signed by over 160,000 supporters of PETA and our international affiliates calling for a ban on the cruel rides.
Please help keep the pressure on the Greek government to finally do right by animals and stop abusive donkey and mule “taxi” rides on Santorini.
Originally posted on November 13, 2019:
On the Greek island of Santorini, donkeys and mules are used as taxis to carry tourists up and down more than 500 steps to the old town of Firá several times a day.
Despite international outrage when an eyewitness report published by PETA in 2018 revealed that the animals were denied water and shade and many had painful wounds, a new PETA video exposé reveals that the suffering and abuse continue.
Open Sores and Bloody Injuries
Donkeys and mules were observed suffering from open sores, raw skin, and bloody injuries caused by their ill-fitting and makeshift saddles.
Some animals were forced to wear tight muzzles with sharp wire ends that could easily injure them as well as humans.
Denied Food, Water, and Adequate Shade
When there were no customers, most donkeys and mules were left to stand in the scorching sun. They were tethered so tightly that they couldn’t even reach the sole bucket of water available to them.
They weren’t given any food throughout the day.
Eyewitnesses documented several instances in which tourists were almost run over, trampled, or pushed aside by panicked donkeys and mules, including one in which a man jumped up on a wall to get out of the way. In 2015, a woman was even trampled to death by a donkey.
What You Can Do
After PETA’s first exposé, the Greek Ministry for Rural Development passed new laws to protect animals.
Yet this footage shows that the laws are neither observed nor enforced.
The time has come for Greece to ban donkey and mule rides altogether, as this is the only way to guarantee the animals’ protection and end their suffering and exploitation.
When visiting Santorini, please never go for a ride on an animal. Instead, take the nearby cable car (which has been operating for decades), or explore Firá on foot.
Please join PETA in urging the Greek minister of agriculture to ban donkey and mule rides on Santorini.
Online Petition: End donkey and mule exploitation in Santorini
Since 2018, the animal welfare organisation PETA Germany and its international affiliates have been active for donkeys and mules who are exploited as living taxis and tourist attractions on the Greek island of Santorini.
I was shocked to learn that these animals are still forced to suffer despite the international outcry against their abuse.
The images from 2018 clearly show that the equines were exposed to the scorching sun and did not have sufficient food, water, or shade. Every day, these donkeys and mules are used to carry sometimes extremely heavy tourists as live taxis.
The animal handlers often hit them with wooden sticks, and the tourists themselves abuse them by kicking their stomachs.
Images from October 2020 are proof that the suffering and illegal acts continue on Santorini. Pictures show equines tightly chained in the sun without food or water, and animals are forced to endure this suffering day after day, deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them.
This must stop!
More and more tourist regions around the globe are showing their commitment to animal welfare, including Egypt, which plans to ban rides on camels and other animals around the Giza pyramids and archaeological sites.
Santorini must follow this compassionate example.
Donkeys and mules in Greece have the right to receive proper care and to be free from physical harm. These rights must not be ignored by using the animals as a means of transport for tourists. The only way to guarantee them a life free from cruelty is by banning this exploitation. Please help do so!
And I mean… As picturesque as Santorini may be, there is also a downside: the donkeys that, day after day, often carry tourists for hours over steep paths and up 586 steps in extreme heat.
According to animal rights activists, more and more of the travelers are overweight, which is why many of the animals suffer injuries.
And although everyone can clearly see that these donkeys are not doing well, numerous tourists choose precisely this attraction.
While there is now a weight limit (a step in the right direction), donkey owners often ignore it. This is how the frightening images of the injured donkey emerged.
In addition: there are only a few breaks for the animals, they are literally shooed up the steps.
The saddles are improper, the tail straps are chafing, and many animals have open wounds.
And yet they are still used.
Please sign this petition too.
My best regards to all, Venus