Photos: Push to End Cruel Donkey Rides Hits Greek Embassy

For Immediate Release:

21 November 2019


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


PETA Demands an End to Animal Exploitation on Santorini After New Exposé

London – On the Greek island of Santorini, donkeys and mules are abused on a daily basis to transport tourists up and down more than 500 steps, several times a day, to the old town of Firá. Despite international outrage after a PETA exposé revealed their suffering last year, new eyewitness footage released this month shows that these animals are still being beaten, injured, and forced to give rides without food or water. In response, a dozen PETA supporters descended on the Greek Embassy in London to call for legislators to put an end to the animals’ suffering by banning the cruel rides.

Images are available here, here, and here.

The action is part of an international effort by PETA and its affiliates, and similar protests are planned at embassies and consulates around the world. In September, one of the group’s affiliates bombarded Greek ports, ferries, taxis, buses, billboards, and cargo bikes with images showing the animals’ suffering and urging tourists to stop perpetuating the cruelty. Musician Johnny Marr also got involved, sending a letter to the Greek minister of tourism ahead of his Athens gig calling on him to “put an end to this old-school practice of using animals as ‘beasts of burden’ and encourage tourists to use the port’s cable car – or their own two feet – instead.”

“It’s a disgrace that gentle donkeys and mules are being whipped and marched into the ground as they’re forced to work day in and day out with no relief from the hot sun,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “PETA is calling on tourists to steer clear of these hideously cruel rides and urging Greek authorities to step up and stop this abuse.”

Eyewitnesses in Santorini found donkeys and mules suffering with open sores, raw skin, and bloody injuries from ill-fitting and makeshift saddles. For them, every step means pain. Often, the animals are beaten with a stick by a handler while forced to carry tourists up and down more than 500 stony, slippery steps. When they’re not being forced to give rides, most animals are left to stand in the scorching sun. They’re tethered so tightly that they can’t even reach the one bucket of water. The video also shows blatant flouting of the new 100-kilogram weight restriction, despite veterinary recommendations that donkeys shouldn’t carry more than 20% of their own body weight – approximately 50 kilograms.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.

Images from the exposé are available here, here, and here. For more information about PETA and to take action for donkeys and mules, please visit or click here.