What travel destinations are on your bucket list? Europe? Asia? Australia? If you’re thinking about visiting Greece, you might want to step on the scale before you make your travel plans.

The Greek island of Santorini has become a popular destination for tourists thanks to cruise ships that stop there. Donkeys on Santorini are frequently used to help tourists climb the steep, cobblestone pathways that are too narrow for cars. It’s not uncommon for donkeys to make 4 or 5 trips up and down these pathways every day.

This past summer, footage of overweight tourists riding donkeys on the island outraged animal rights activists who took prompt action.

The Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food received “multiple complaints and publications on the living conditions and well being of domestic animals.” There was also a petition to end the use of donkeys as transportation, and it got 108,901 signatures.

The petition explained that “Despite the fact that it’s only a 30 minute walk…or 2 minutes by cable car, these donkeys are used as cruel transportation for people who want the ‘real Greek’ experience.” It went on to say, “So if you ever go to Santorini – or any other place that offers rides on animals such as donkeys or elephants etc. please, please do not support this mindless and unnecessary animal torture.”

While donkeys can still be used as transportation in Santorini, the rules have changed. The donkeys are required to have drinking water available at all times and to have at least half an hour each day devoted to exercise. There’s also a weight limit travelers must meet before they’re allowed to ride donkeys.

If you’re planning a trip to Santorini and you hope to ride a donkey, make sure the scale doesn’t say more than 220 pounds since this is the new weight limit that donkeys are allowed to carry.

One activist group, The Donkey Sanctuary, doesn’t think that these steps to help the donkeys are good enough. They said on their website, “now is the time to increase our efforts to support the needs of these diligent donkeys and mules. The Donkey Sanctuary is committed to bringing about sustainable change.”

PETA agrees that Santorini isn’t doing enough to help the donkeys. They referred to these new limits as a “throwaway” gesture.

For more information about why this change was made, watch the video below.







Have you been to the island of Santorini? Do you think there should be a weight limit for people riding the donkeys there?