We are pleased to share the news that the petition launched by The Donkey Sanctuary to improve working conditions for the tourist taxi donkeys and mules of Santorini has now reached over 15,000 signatures.
After years of work to try to improve the lives of these hard-working animals, an independent report produced last year revealed that unfortunately they are still being forced to carry overweight passengers and are denied access to water, shade and rest during their long working days. The poor quality saddles and bridles used and common disregard for safety guidelines pose serious risk of injury to the donkeys and mules and the tourists who are riding them.
The petition includes a list of urgent improvements that are needed in Santorini which include
- 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 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 present the petition to the mayor and local authorities in Santorini in September.
In the meantime, tourists are reminded this summer to make the following checks before riding an animal this summer:
- Safety: Will you be escorted by a conductor at all times during the ride?
- Thirst: Does this animal have access to fresh, clean water?
- Equipment: Is the saddle and bridle of good quality or is it causing sores or discomfort?
- Pounds: Are you an acceptable weight for this animal to carry?
- Shelter: Does this animal have access to shelter during rest breaks?
If tourists are not 100% happy with the answers to the above questions then they should not ride a donkey or mule. We are all responsible for the welfare of these animals and until conditions improve, The Donkey Sanctuary is urging all UK tourists to avoid taking part in acts of animal cruelty.
Add your support to the petition to improve conditions for the working donkeys and mules of Santorini at http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/petition/santorini