Greece Taking Burden Off Working Donkeys

Greek donkeys no longer in heavyweight class thanks to hefty tourist ban

One such rule says that the donkeys giving rides in Santorini shouldn't carry anyone weighing more than 100kg, or one fifth of the animal's weight.

Greece has just passed an unusual new law that imposes a ban on tourists deemed overweight on the island of Santorini.

"One person was transported to the hill three different donkey not to chase a single animal", said 45-year-old Elizabeth, CACI, a volunteer from Athens, who participated in a peaceful protest in Santorini about the treatment of donkeys.

But another complaint from the charity attracted more attention: overweight tourists from America, the United Kingdom, and Russian Federation are giving the donkeys spinal injuries, they claimed.

Greece's Ministry of Agriculture has introduced new rules to protect the donkeys of Santorini, including a riding ban on tourists who weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), following a campaign by animal rights groups saying that burdening the donkeys with excessive loads is tantamount to torture.

"The owners of working equidae [donkeys] should ensure that the animals' level of health is high".

Help the Santorini Donkeys charity previously fought for them not to carry any more than eight stone on their backs, as well as not be used to carry other materials for building work or waste.

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Members of the charity met with Greek government officials in August to discuss the welfare of the animals.

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

"Working equines should not be loaded with excessive weight for their size, age or physical condition", reads a bulletin created by Greece's Ministry of Rural Development and Food.

A representative of animal rights group PETA told CNN the move is a "throwaway" gesture that "won't prevent the daily suffering that these donkeys endure".

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. No one could ever believe that new regulations would be set.

"[While this means they will stop carrying obese tourists], the donkeys are still forced to carry cement, appliances, and all sorts of heavy weights".

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