After coming under fire from animal welfare activists, the Greek island’s officials have taken action to improve living conditions for the donkeys.
Overtourism has become such an issue in Santorini that last year mayor Nikos Zorzos capped the number of cruise ship passengers who are allowed to disembark each day to just 8,000 people. Now, the donkey rides that some travelers choose to take up the steep cliffs of the Greek island have also come under fire from animal welfare groups. Thankfully, Santorini’s government has just taken action to make these animals’ lives better.
The Donkey Sanctuary and a Facebook group called Help the Santorini Donkeys both condemned the rides, which CNN called “ethically dubious” earlier in 2018, stating that the animals are being forced to carry loads that are too heavy for them, without proper shade, food, and water, according to the Telegraph.
After meeting with several animal welfare organizations on Saturday, July 28, the island’s officials decided to update the legislation that limits the time these donkeys are allowed to work, as well as implement a new system to determine how much each animal is allowed to carry.
According to Help the Santorini Donkeys, each donkey should carry no more than 20 percent of its body weight, which ends up being around 112 pounds typically. The government has also promised that immediate action will be taken to provide an adequate supply of shade and water for the animals.
In the meantime, travelers who would like to avoid the donkey rides altogether have two options to get to the top of the volcanic island. While the 30-minute walk to the island’s capital, Fira, at the top of the volcanic island is strenuous, there’s also a cable car that makes the journey in two minutes (but be prepared for long lines).