Amid Greek Heatwave, PETA Calls For Santorini Donkey Ride Ban

Athens – As Greece experiences its longest heatwave on record, with temperatures soaring above 40˚C, PETA is calling on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Minister of Tourism Olga Kefalogianni to take urgent action for the donkeys and mules used as tourist “taxis” on the Greek island of Santorini by enacting legislation banning these animal rides.

“Working under such extreme conditions can lead to circulatory stress and heat stroke, which is often fatal in equines,” writes PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in the appeal. “Only a ban on donkey and mule rides on Santorini will stop these animals from suffering.”

Donkeys and mules on the island are made to transport tourists up more than 500 steps to the old town of Firá, even though a cable car has been operating nearby for decades. PETA has previously published eyewitness reports showing animals with painful abdominal abrasions and wounds caused by ill-fitting and worn-down saddles or makeshift saddle girths. The headgear used is often inappropriate, and some donkeys and mules had wounds covered in flies. While animals are forced to await their next trip in the scorching Mediterranean sun, they are often denied essentials such as water, shade, and protection from the elements. Furthermore, many animals stumble – often after being beaten with a stick by a handler – endangering themselves and nearby tourists who are on foot.

None of the existing measures taken by the government to protect the animals are sufficiently monitored or enforced, and misconduct is rarely punished.

PETA’s letter to Mitsotakis and Kefalogianni is available here. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on FacebookTwitterTikTok, or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]