Inside Story- Greece Bans Overweight Tourists From Riding Donkeys

The decision was made after animal rights organizations brought attention to the abuse of the donkeys, which included forcing them to carry heavy weights.

The Greek government has decided to make it illegal for overweight visitors to ride donkeys.

Tourists frequently employ donkeys as a mode of transportation all around Greece and its islands. Greek cobblestone steps, which are famous across the world and are regularly marveled at at popular tourist destinations like Santorini, can be climbed up and down for a fee by paying tourists riding donkeys.

However, this well-liked hobby will now be constrained by one’s size. The New York Daily Post reports that following complaints over the welfare of the animals, Greece’s Ministry of Rural Development and Food published new regulations regarding donkey rides.

State donkeys used for tourist rides won’t be allowed to carry anything more than 220 pounds, or around one-fifth of their own weight.

According to a government announcement on the new law:

“The owners of working equidae [donkeys] should ensure that the animals’ level of health is high. Under no circumstances should be used animals unfit for work i.e., ill animal, injured, animals in an advanced pregnancy as well as animals with poor maintenance of hooves.”

Animal rights organizations claimed that the donkeys were suffering from spine injuries and open wounds as a result of carrying heavier tourists, which led to the creation of the ban.
Donkey Injury

Wound On Donkey back from carrying overload

injury on a donkey caused by an uncomfortable saddle.

In a statement, a representative for the nonprofit organization Help the Santorini Donkeys said that the issue was being brought on by “fat and overweight tourists, the lack of water and shade, the intense heat, and the 568 cobblestone steps.”

Animal rights organizations like the one stated above brought attention to the mistreatment of these Greek donkeys and generated a lot of media coverage, which in turn sparked a wave of complaints to Greek government officials.

Elisavet Chatzi, a volunteer who took part in nonviolent demonstrations in Santorini in response to the problem, is happy with this policy adjustment. She stated, “I think all our hard work has paid off. It’s a pretty huge step.

Tourists riding donkeys

This new law seems to have had an immediate effect on Santorini. In order to avoid wearing out the donkeys, a tourist had been carried up the hill by three different donkeys the day after the advisory was published, according to Chatzi.

Nobody can predict how this new rule will be applied in Santorini and other regions of Greece, though. According to Chatzi, “The crisis in Santorini has been for a long time and cannot be fixed in a single day.”

Other advocacy organizations do not think this new law goes far enough.

Donkey With back wounds from carrying heavy loads

The head of Direct Action Everywhere’s branch in Athens, Maria Skourta, claims that even though the regulations are in place and the new law has definitely brought attention to the issue of donkey mistreatment, donkeys are still required to carry cement, appliances, and other heavy loads.

We want to completely free the slaves, not just make their lives better, Skourta remarked.

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