Activists, cruise group say don’t ride donkeys


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Visiting the Greek island of Santorini anytime soon? Activists have a message for you: Don’t ride donkeys up its iconic, precipitous steps.

The advice has been made in conjunction with a cruise industry group, The Guardian reports. While the donkeys have been a traditional mode of transportation for people visiting Santorini, overweight tourists have prompted concerns about the donkeys’ health.

Last October, the island banned people who weigh more than 220 pounds, or one-fifth of the donkey’s body weight, from riding them. Approximately 18,000 travelers visited the island from cruise ships at certain points in 2017, according to Greek media reports. This year the island is capping cruise ship arrivals at 8,000.  


The island of Santorini has officially banned tourists who weigh over 220 pounds from riding local donkeys. Veuer’s Mercer Morrison has the story.

The Donkey Sanctuary, an international animal welfare and rescue charity, launched its “In Their Hooves” campaign last month “asking (travelers) to stop and think before taking donkey or mule rides in Santorini and other holiday destinations.”

“The Santorini donkeys are one of the iconic features of the island and we are joining with the Donkey Sanctuary to urge guests to use their services responsibly,” Maria Deligianni of the Cruise Lines International Association told USA TODAY in a statement.

“Representatives from the cruise liner association were here in my office this week promising to raise awareness, and from our side we’ll be distributing information leaflets,” Nikos Zorzos, Santorini’s mayor, said at Fira, Santorini’s capital. “Our mules and donkeys are part of our tradition. Younger owners, especially, have understood that they need to be looked after.”

USA TODAY has reached out to the Santorini government for comment.


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