New Evidence: Donkeys and Mules Still Abused on Santorini, PETA Germany Takes Legal Measures

London – Despite years of international campaign pressure, donkeys and mules are still suffering as they’re forced to carry tourists between the old town and the port on the Greek island of Santorini. Photo and video evidence  from PETA Germany shows numerous animals with open, untreated wounds, and horse expert Dr Maximilian Pick believes the conditions in which animals used as “taxis” on Santorini are kept are “cruel and unsuitable”.

In response, PETA Germany, together with Greek organisation Ippothesis – Panhellenic Equine Welfare Society, is filing criminal charges  against the owners and handlers of the animals as well as the local authorities, which the group believes are breaching Greek animal welfare regulations. Current regulations prohibit abuse and ill treatment of as well as cruelty to animals. Yet the equines are routinely worked to exhaustion, resulting in serious health issues, and physical violence is inflicted on them when they resist. Charges have also been filed against the current mayor of Santorini, Antonis Sigalas.

The group is also renewing its calls to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, urging him to end the suffering of animals on Santorini by officially banning all tourist rides on the island.

“The suffering of donkeys and mules on Santorini is as bad as ever, and those responsible must be held to account,” says PETA Vice President Mimi Bekhechi. “There is no excuse for exploiting these animals as ‘taxis’, and the time to ban these cruel, archaic rides is now.”

PETA has previously published eyewitness reports documenting the suffering of donkeys and mules on Santorinishowing 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, or protection from the elements. Furthermore, many animals stumble – often after being beaten with a stick by a handler – endangering 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 – 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 FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


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