Travel Trouble

Courtney Allan

Why you should think twice before riding a donkey in Santorini

Why you should think twice before riding a donkey in Santorini

The quaint island of Santorini in Greece is never short of tourists who are attracted to the whitewashed cottages and blue-domed churches.

Many tourists are arriving by boat, before making their way up hundreds of steep steps to the island’s main town.

If you don’t want to walk, there are donkeys available to carry those who can’t or don’t want to journey up the stairs.

However, a new campaign has been launched to encourage you to think about the strain that’s being put onto the donkeys.

British charity The Donkey Sanctuary has launched the In Their Hooves campaign as a way of improving public awareness about the plight of donkeys.

The initiative is the result of a partnership between The Donkey Sanctuary and local Santorini authorities as the strain of passengers who weigh more than 100 kilograms are injuring the spines of the donkeys.

"We are excited to launch the In Their Hooves video and we hope visitors to Santorini are able to make informed decisions about the welfare of working equines they will see there," Barbara Massa, The Donkey Sanctuary's regional director for Europe, said in a press release.

"We will continue to work with the municipality, providing training to equine health service providers and also the animal owners, all of whom are critical to improving the working conditions and practices on the island."

The initiative encourages tourists to think about whether or not the animals have access to adequate water and shelter, whether or not their owner treats them respectfully, if they show any signs of injury and whether or not they are expected to carry an acceptable weight.

Have you ridden a donkey before? Let us know in the comments.