The Greek resort of Santorini sees millions of tourists flocking to its sandy beaches every year, with no signs of slowing down, and many who visit the city choose to take a donkey ride up the coastal city’s steep steps and pathways.
But a new campaign has now been launched urging holiday-makers to think twice before riding donkeys up the island’s iconic steep steps.
Donkey Sanctuary, a UK-based charity, launched the ‘In Their Hooves’ campaign alongside Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), after it was revealed that the over-worked animals are suffering from exhaustion, spinal injuries and saddle sores.
The most popular track under fire for the mistreatment and overloading of donkeys is located on the western coast of the island where travellers are transported up 588 steps from the port at sea level to the capital city, Fira.
“We are excited to launch the In Their Hooves video and we hope visitors to Santorini are able to make informed decisions about the welfare of working equines they will see there,” Barbara Massa, The Donkey Sanctuary’s regional director for Europe, said in a press release.
“We will continue to work with the municipality, providing training to equine health service providers and also the animal owners, all of whom are critical to improving the working conditions and practices on the island.”
It comes after the Greek government banned tourists weighing more than 100 kilograms from riding the animals in October last year. A cable car was also installed to help tourists that arrive off ships onto the island every day travel up the cliff.