Santorini is an island in Greece, associated with beautiful views and a perfect holiday. From cliffs to beaches to quaint towns, it has it all. You can also pretty much guarantee good weather! The most popular attraction for tourists, however, is climbing the island’s famous steep steps. Many do this on foot, but more ride a donkey. This is the traditional Greek way of doing it, and it’s easier on the legs! But these donkey rides are more harmful than people think…
People often don’t think about the donkey having to climb the steps with their weight on top of it. Or the fact they do this all day, every day. They don’t get holidays like the one the tourists are on right now. And with 17,000 tourists a day heading to the island, it is a long slog for the donkeys.
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) August 6, 2018-Advertisement-
This has therefore led to saddle sores, exhaustion, and spinal injuries. The donkeys are suffering at the hands of over-tourism, and The Donkey Sanctuary is looking to bring the issue to the public’s attention.
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.”
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-Advertisement-
— The Donkey Sanctuary (@DonkeySanctuary) March 27, 2019
What Can You Do?
A PR officer for The Donkey Sanctuary thought that tourists needed more information, rather than donkey owners. They said, “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.”
Do you think the donkeys deserve a break? Just take a moment to think before your donkey rides. Let us know in the comments, and share with your friends and family! Check out similar stories on Happiest.