Over 160,000 People Urge Greek Government to Stop Cruel Donkey ‘Taxi’ Rides on Santorini

Over 160,000 People Urge Greek Government to Stop Cruel Donkey ‘Taxi’ Rides on Santorini

PETA Germany Gathers at Greek Embassy in Berlin to Demand an End to Island’s Donkey Abuse

London  As donkeys and mules continue to be abused for tourist rides on Santorini, PETA Germany supporters held a protest in front of the Greek Embassy in Berlin featuring an activist riding a “bleeding” toy donkey. Over 160,000 supporters of PETA and its international affiliates signed petitions calling for an end to this needless cruelty.

Photos from the action are available herehere, and here. Video footage is available here.

The protesters pointed out that, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Greece’s suffering tourism industry has an opportunity for positive change. If the country doesn’t wish to be regarded as a holiday destination that tramples on animal welfare and profits from animal suffering, the government needs to ban the cruel rides and allow the animals to “social distance” from tourists for life.

“If Greece wants to be seen as a travel destination that respects animals, it must end the abuse of gentle donkeys and mules in Santorini,” says PETA Vice President of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA appeals to the government to act responsibly and retire the remaining mules and donkeys to reputable sanctuaries, freeing them from tourist rides forever.”

A PETA Germany eyewitness investigation revealed that donkeys and mules are used as “taxis” in Santorini’s scorching heat, forced to transport tourists up more than 500 steep steps to the old town of Firá, even though a cable car has been operating nearby for decades. Many animals were tethered in the blazing sun without access to water or shade – and some were even forced to continue working at night, hauling bags of rubbish. A new law passed last year prevents owners from burdening their donkeys with weights exceeding 100 kilograms, even though, according to veterinary recommendations, donkeys shouldn’t carry more than 20% of their body weight – approximately 50 kilograms. What’s more, 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 controlled, and misconduct is rarely punished. PETA is demanding an immediate ban on donkey and mule rides.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”. The group opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.


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