Overweight tourists are no longer allowed to ride donkeys in Greece. The country has banned heavier people participating in the iconic riding of the donkeys up the steps in Santorini.
Activists have long complained that the excessive weight was harming the animals, including causing unnecessary spinal injuries. Greece finally started to pay attention to what the activists were saying. Tourists who wish to partake in the classic sightseeing venture on the Greek Island will have to weigh less than 220 pounds or the equivalent of 1/5 of the donkey's body weight.
According to CNN Travel, the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food instructed that the donkeys will no longer be loaded with "excessive weight in size, age or physical condition." These new guidelines were issued all of the islands after the department received numerous complaints regarding the living conditions concerns and well-being of the donkeys during this summer tourist season.
In July, video footage of overweight tourists riding the donkey's sparked a serious outrage social media. A petition to demanding that the animals stop being used as a form of transportation received over 100,000 signatures. An activist group, The Donkey Sanctuary, was disgusted over the treatment of the animals, especially the living conditions, and requested a meeting a Santorini representative.
Despite the new overweight ban, some groups like PETA believe it is not enough. The donkeys will still suffer. Since they are taking a person up and down the 588 steps four to five times, a day damage to the animal with still occur, even with the new weight limit. The past few years Santorini has seen a significant increase in tourist during the summer season thanks to popularity with cruise ships. It is one of the prime cruising destinations in the Greek Islands.
instead of it becoming a weight issue, how about they ban all donkey rides period because animals are not your fucking property for you to use when your lazy ass doesn't wanna carry your bags or walk. this is animal abuse PERIOD. https://t.co/2mrwJTL5UP— lydia deetz (@littlewin0na) October 17, 2018
The only way to truly prevent the animals from harm is to stop having the tourist ride them. However, it is a huge money maker for the island, so it is unlikely that will happen. Maybe if tourists start refusing to ride the donkeys up the steps, it will lessen the financial gain and help keep the donkeys safe. It is heartbreaking to hear they are not being taken care of properly. All animals deserve to be treated with love and care.