Donkeys and mules are used as tourist taxis on the island of Santorini, Greece, carrying passengers or luggage.
An independent report produced last year revealed that many of these animals are forced to carry overweight passengers and are denied access to shade, water and rest for hours at a time. Poor quality saddles and bridles are often used and safety guidelines are regularly ignored, placing tourists at risk of injury.
Over the past few years we have attempted to work with the town municipality to provide training and equipment for the taxi operators although unfortunately, the standards have not been maintained and the level of complaints has risen yet again.
We have provided the local authorities with a list of improvements that urgently need to be made to bring welfare standards to an acceptable level.
Urgent improvements needed to animal welfare in Santorini:
- Additional shelter (near double) must be erected at the top and bottom of the cliffs. All waiting animals need to be in shade.
- Physical changes to the route to allow for correct rotation of donkeys must be completed.
- All animals must have free access to fresh clean water at all times.
- An agreed (measurable by scales) weight limit must be imposed and advertised clearly for the public.
- Veterinary inspections of all animals must be carried out throughout the season.
- Fortnightly tack inspections must be conducted with advice to replace worn tack headed and actioned immediately.
- The local codes of welfare practice needs to be revised and updated with evidence of the willingness and capability for them to be meaningfully enforced.
The Donkey Sanctuary will be collecting names for this petition which will be presented to the mayor of Santorini as part of our campaign to improve standards for donkeys and mules working in the tourism industry.