Distressing Images Show Greek Donkeys Forced To Carry Obese Tourists Uphill
Distressing footage has emerged showing donkeys being beaten, mistreated and forced to carry overweight tourists on the Greek holiday island of Santorini.
Last year the Greek government passed a law banning any passenger over 100kg (15s stone, 10lbs) from riding donkeys in a bid to improve the welfare of the animals.
But in a chilling and damning new report, animal rights group PETA claims that donkeys are being abused and mistreated by both tourists and their handlers, and has accused Greek authorities of covering up what it calls the 'cruel' treatment of donkeys on the popular tourist island.
Donkeys are seen toiling in the hot sun and being forced to carry overweight tourists up the 500 steps from the island's port to its capital city, Fira.
PETA have also heavily criticized Greek officials for allegedly blocking the group's ad campaign from being seen on buses and taxis, which features an exhausted donkey next to the words "Donkeys Suffer for Tourists. Please Don't Ride Them."
The video, which was filmed in September but released today, also shows donkeys stumbling up the steps as they tire from exhaustion and endangering nearby tourists making their way up on foot.
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The donkeys are also shown to be tethered up in the blazing sun in between rides, denied water and even being unable to move their heads to swat bothersome flies away.
To make matters worse, there is even a fully-functional cable car situated right next to the steps which can carry tourists with ease, rendering the continued use and treatment of the donkeys even more cruel and necessary.
Numerous campaigns have been made over the years in a desperate attempt to help save Santorini's donkeys, but none have been successful. PETA is now hoping that following the indisputable proof of the animals' mistreat that the government will finally be pressured into making such rides illegal.
Peta director Elisa Allen said: "It's a disgrace that gentle donkeys and mules are still being whipped and marched into the ground as they're forced to work day in and day out with no relief from the hot sun.
"Peta is calling on tourists to steer clear of these hideously cruel rides and urging Greek authorities to step up and stop this abuse."
Over 2000 donkeys still remain in Santorini, making it one of the largest donkey communites in the country.
Featured Image Credit: PETA Deutschland