- Greece -
How many of you have heard of Santorini or visited it?
Santorini is not just an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 120 miles (200 km) southeast of Greece's mainland.
Santorini is not just a volcanic island with beautiful beaches and picturesque sceneries.
Santorini also has a heartbreaking aspect that many people may not be aware of.
Sadly, despite years of pleas from animal advocates, beautiful animals like donkeys and mules are used as “taxis” on the island.
Following an investigation conducted by PETA, and a series of international protests by PETA outside the Greek embassies and consulates around the world, on June 13, 2019, Johnny Marr, ex guitarist of The Smiths, wrote to the then Greek Minister of Tourism, Thanasis Theocharopoulos, asking him to put an end to donkey ‘taxi’ rides in the island of Santorini.
The vegan musician pointed out in the letter that: “donkeys and mules are forced to transport tourists and haul other heavy loads up more than 500 steep steps to the old town of Firá. Making this arduous journey over and over again throughout the day, the poor animals are given few breaks, if any. Often they aren’t even provided with drinking water. And many suffer from wounds and abrasions caused by ill-fitting and worn-out saddles.”
The Greek government promised to restrict the use of donkeys for tourists rides.
I don’t need to tell you that did NOT happen.
In fact, PETA Germany exposés have revealed that donkeys and mules are still being beaten with sticks, they stumble, they are mistreated, whipped, and exploited as “taxis”.
Despite the 2018 weight restriction laws, and veterinary recommendation that donkeys carry no more than 20% of their own body weight, these sweet and gentle animals are still forced to carry heavy, lazy, heartless, selfish, and ignorant people of any weight who are effectively contributing to this blatant animal cruelty.
When the poor animals are not being ridden by tourists, they are “parked”, tethered, left under the scorching sun without shelter or water.
As you can see, some pictures show that behind these 500 steep steps, there are cable cars that have been operating for decades and tourists should be encouraged to use them or use their own feet to climb these steps and carry their own stuff.
More than 161,000 supporters of PETA and its affiliates are calling on the Greek Minister for Agricultural Development and Food to ban the cruel rides immediately.
PETA says that tourism from Australia, Germany, France, the UK, and elsewhere fuels the economy on the Greek island.
PETA Germany delivered its appeal to the Greek Embassy in Berlin.
PETA also says that “The demonstrators point out that the COVID-19 crisis has done a lot of damage to Greece, which is dependent on tourism, but also offers the 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 cruelty to animals, the government needs to act responsibly. It must ban the cruel rides and allow donkeys and mules to “social distance” from tourists forever at animal sanctuaries.”
I know that after reading animal cruelty stories, many of us feel powerless and frustrated because we wish we had the means or the power to end animal cruelty.
Well, believe it or not, signing petitions can be a way to contribute to helping those big charity organizations who rely on our support.
PETA has a pre-written message on their website addressed to the Greek agriculture minister.
All you have to do is just enter your name and email address.
I truly hope you will sign it and share it. Thank you!
As I always say, “The more, the louder!”
*Voice For Us firmly believes that people contribute to animals’ abuse by visiting zoos, circuses, theme parks with animal shows, or ride animals as part of tourist attractions. *