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Alas, overweight tourists are officially banned from riding donkeys in Santorini.
Animal activists have been fighting to keep tourists off donkeys’ backs for months now, saying that overweight tourists are crippling the animals. A successful meeting in July between animal welfare societies, animal rights group and animal owners and the Municipality of Santorini led lawmakers to agree to make immediate changes and improve the welfare conditions of the country’s donkeys and equines and update its legislation regarding how much weight the animals can hold.
On Wednesday, the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food released a new set of regulations saying that the animals “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.”
The new regulations also address the need for better working conditions. “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.” Additionally, “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.”
According to CNN, the department circulated the guidelines to island regions after receiving several complaints on the donkeys’ living conditions throughout the summer. Footage of overweight tourists riding on the donkeys sparked a widespread conversation on social media and a petition to end the abuse obtained over 100,000 signatures.
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