Over 500 steps must be overcome before tourists are able to enjoy the view from the top of Fira, the capital of the Greek island of Santorini.
In order to ensure visitors don’t have to undertake this taxing work themselves, donkeys are charged with walking up and down the hill every day like living escalators. The traditional ride is a popular attraction and has been for some time, but it takes a huge toll on the animals themselves.
Now, animal rights activists have released gruesome images from behind the scenes – and the tourist industry has been rocked to its core.
In the burning heat, the donkeys are forced to carry tourists up the hill one after another. Often the paths are steep and the stairs dangerous. But animals get little rest. To make matters worse, animal rights groups say tourists on average are getting heavier. More obese people are using donkeys, thus increasing their workload.
It’s a job without a break, without a moment’s pause, seven days a week. Do they get enough water and good treatment for their service? No. British newspaper The Sun claims that the owners at the Santorini attraction breed donkeys with horses, meaning that the resulting mules are stronger, bigger and better equipped to last longer.
A picture says a thousand words, especially when it comes to the devastating effects of animal cruelty. Photos from Network for Animals have been released, and they document the bloody wounds hidden from tourists when they book their tickets for the donkey rides.
Most donkeys dono’ have adequate saddles, thus exacerbating the injuries suffered. Many of them are so exhausted at the end of the day that they can not even get up.
It’s recommended that animals should carry no more than 20
per cent of their own body weight
The Sun a spokesperson for the animal welfare organization ‘Help the Santorini Donkeys’ as saying: “It’s recommended that animals should carry no more than 20 percent of their own body weight. The obese and overweight tourists, combined with the lack of shade and water as well as the sheer heat and 568 cobbled steps, is what is causing such a problem.”
Of course, even without having to carry too many overweight passengers, working conditions for donkeys would still be excruciating.
The guilt when it comes to the suffering of these animals cannot be attributed only to the owners of cruel rides. There is a market for this; without people wanting to climb, the attraction would decrease quickly. Tourists can play their part in fighting these agonizing journeys, denying rides and increasing awareness of the animal cruelty involved. Fortunately, due to the hard work of animal rights activists, it is becoming increasingly difficult for owners of such schemes to cover up the shady results of their business anyway
All tourists can play their part by making sure “attractions” such as these are a thing of the past. Make no mistake, one day we will look back on these practices with shame and horror.
Play your part in eradicating the cruel donkey rides
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