Since launching a petition earlier this year to improve the extremely poor working conditions for donkeys and mules working in the tourist industry on the island of Santorini in Greece, we have accumulated over 20,000 signatures from supporters.
Our campaign has already attracted considerable support from a number of important bodies, including the European Union, who endorse our recommendations for urgent improvements.
We are also collaborating closely with the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and a large number of tour and cruise ship operators to put pressure on the municipalities to comply with the Code of Practice that they have signed up to.
It is vital that tourists continue to help by following our Take STEPS advice to check conditions themselves from adding to an animal’s suffering. When tourists show a clear preference for using animals that enjoy proper care and welfare conditions, operators soon learn that making improvements has benefits for business too.
Tourists should Take STEPS before riding a tourist taxi animal and ask themselves:
- 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?
The petition will be presented to the authorities in Santorini in September 2014 along with a comprehensive list of recommendations that must be made to the working practices of these hard working animals.