Quick Read: Greece bans obese tourists from riding on donkeys

The road to the sea is down famously hilly steps

The road to the sea is down famously hilly steps

State donkeys which give rides to tourists will be barred from carrying loads heavier than 220 pounds, which roughly equals one-fifth of their weight.

However, there is no telling how this new law will be enforced in Santorini and in other parts of Greece.

Santorini, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece, has struggled to deal with swelling numbers of visitors and the associated strain on ill-adapted infrastructure.

The Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food has published a new set of regulations regarding donkeys' well-being after receiving multiple complaints following media coverage in July.

This decision was taken after statements by the defenders of animals that the donkey is very hard to carry such a burden and for this reason they receive many injuries of the spine.

Christina Kaloudi, 42, of the Santorini Animal Welfare Association said: "We don't want to stop the locals making a living or using donkeys on the steps, but to look after them in a fair and human way".

"With the holiday season coming into full swing, exhausted donkeys and mules are spending long days in the scorching sun, carrying tourists or heavy and harmful rubbish loads, with little to no water, food or shade".

The Greek government has stepped in to put a cap on the maximum weight that tourist ride donkeys are allowed to carry.

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"Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition".

The Ministry of agriculture of Greece was forbidden to ride donkeys in Santorini people who weigh over a hundred kilograms.

Concerns have also been raised by the UK-based Donkey Sanctuary charity regarding the conditions of the animals working on Santorini.

- Under no circumstances should donkeys be used if they are unfit for work i.e., ill animal, injured, animals in an advanced pregnancy as well as animals with poor maintenance of hooves.

The regulations also made it clear that animals not fit for work should not be used and they should get adequate food and fresh water.

"Our goal is not to improve the lives of slaves, (it) is to free them entirely", said Maria Skourta, the leader of the Athens branch of Direct Action Everywhere.

"The donkeys are still forced to carry cement, appliances, and all sorts of heavy weights".

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