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People Are Now Being Banned From Riding Donkeys On Greek Island Based On Weight

On the Greek island of Santorini, tourists often like to mount some of the area’s working donkey population to climb the steep hills that lead from the beach to the island’s largest community. However, carrying heavier travelers up the path for years and years has taken quite a toll on the donkeys, and advocacy groups have finally convinced Santorini officials to place a weight limit on donkey-passengers.

Activists successfully made the case that, over time, the donkeys have suffered spinal injuries as the result of carrying overweight riders up the hills. The rules now state passengers must weight less than “100 kilograms (220 pounds)—or one-fifth of the donkey’s body weight.”

The Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food conceded on these regulations after receiving “multiple complaints and publications on the living conditions and well being of domestic animals” over the summer. The animals carry tourists up the hill all day, often  squeezing “through pathways too narrow for cars.”

Advocacy groups like The Donkey Sanctuary have taken to the internet, creating petitions lobbying for better living conditions for the donkeys. The same set of rules which set a weight-limit on riders also stipulates that the donkeys must be “exercised once a day for at least half an hour and have a continuous supply of drinking water.”

Some believe these new rules are ultimately not enough, however. Mimi Bekhechi, PETA UK’s director of international programs, told CNN:

Donkeys can still be forced to carry a person weighing 15 stone 10 pounds (100 kilograms) up more than 500 steep steps four to five times a day.

Twitter was glad to see the donkey’s conditions improved!

As Santorini becomes more and more popular due to its beautiful sunsets and ease of access from cruise ships, the well-being of the donkeys who have always lived there should never be too far from the local’s minds.

H/T – CNN, The Donkey Sanctuary

Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--