Harrowing new footage has emerged showing how donkeys are still being forced to carry overweight tourists on the Greek holiday island of Santorini.
Last year, the Greek government banned any person heavier than 100kg (15 stone, 10 lbs), or one-fifth of the donkey’s weight, from riding the animals in a bid to improve their welfare.
But the new video shows donkeys toiling up the 500 steps from the island’s port to its capital, Fira, with heavy holidaymakers on their backs. In addition, the footage depicts the creatures being beaten with sticks and carrying wounds such as open sores, caused by poorly fitting saddles.
New footage has been released by Peta Germany showing how donkeys are still being forced to carry tourists on the holiday island of Santorini
The donkeys are still sustaining wounds from the rides. According to Peta, chains used as halters press into the animals’ flesh
The animal rights organisation says that eye injuries among the donkeys are common
The video reveals that some of the donkeys are made to wear tight muzzles made from sharp metal
A donkey suffering from an open sore caused by a poorly fitting saddle and heavy loads
The footage was captured in September this year by Peta Germany and was released today.
In the video, the organisation claims that the saddles the animals are forced to wear chafe their sensitive skin and shows how some donkeys are also made to wear tight metal muzzles and halters. One clip shows one donkey suffering from a painful fly-infested eye injury.
The video also shows handlers beating the donkeys with sticks in a bid to make them keep up if they stop walking.
Last year, the Greek government banned any person heavier than 100kg (15 stone, 10 lbs), or one-fifth of the donkey’s weight, from riding donkeys
Santorini is known for its hilly terrain and donkeys have traditionally been used to transport people over the famously stepped areas, which vehicles cannot access
And some of the animals stumble as they make their way up and down the steps, endangering nearby tourists who are on foot.
Peta Germany says eyewitnesses frequently told them they had to dodge unsupervised donkeys and mules in order to avoid injury, and claim one man even had to jump onto a wall to get out of the way of the struggling animals.
When they are not being made to carry heavy loads on their backs, the video reveals how the donkeys are often tethered in the blazing sun without access to water or shade and even unable to move their heads away from bothersome flies.
The footage, which was captured in September 2019, shows donkeys and mules are carrying tourists up and down more than 500 steps
The video shows handlers beating the donkeys with sticks in a bid to hurry them along
A handler appears to hit a donkey with a stick as it makes its way up the steps in Santorini
Peta says that the footage reveals that many animals stumble endanger nearby tourists on foot
This new video follows footage released by Peta last year claiming to show the ‘suffering’ of donkeys and mules in Santorini.
Despite the outcries, Peta says holidaymakers are still being lured by the donkey rides, which it says are billed as an ‘unforgettable holiday experience’.
It points out that a cable car in operation right next to the 500 steps used by the donkeys can take tourists up and down the hilly terrain with ease.
When not being made to carry heavy loads on their backs, the video reveals how the donkeys are often tethered in the blazing sun
Peta says it is now calling for Greek legislators to introduce a complete ban on all such donkey rides
Following the release of this latest footage, Peta says it is now calling for Greek legislators to introduce a complete ban on all such donkey rides.
Peta director Elisa Allen said: ‘It’s a disgrace that gentle donkeys and mules are still being whipped and marched into the ground as they’re forced to work day in and day out with no relief from the hot sun.
‘Peta is calling on tourists to steer clear of these hideously cruel rides and urging Greek authorities to step up and stop this abuse.’
In 2018 the Greek government published a new set of regulations regarding the well-being of donkeys on Santorini.
A government bulletin stated: ‘The owners of working equidae should ensure that the animals’ level of health is high. There should also be disinfection materials in their living quarters and workstations.
‘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.
‘The animals should be given appropriate and adequate food and fresh drinking water daily, into containers which cannot be contaminated and are cleaned at least once a day.
‘Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition. The load cannot exceed the weight of 100kg, or one fifth of their body weight.’