Ahead of his upcoming performance at the Release Athens festival, musician Johnny Marr has appealed to the Greek Minister of Tourism, Thanasis Theocharopoulos, to put an end to cruel animal “taxi” rides on the island of Santorini, a popular holiday destination.
In a letter, the Smiths icon points out that donkeys and mules are forced to transport tourists – many of whom are Australian – up more than 500 steep steps from the port to the old town of Firá several times a day. When not being made to carry extremely heavy loads on their backs, they’re often tethered in the blazing-hot sun without access to water or shade.
Marr urges the minister to end this abuse:
“It’s wretched stuff, and it needs to end – now. . . . So please, put an end to this old-school practice of using animals as ‘beasts of burden’ and encourage tourists to use the port’s cable car – or their own two feet – instead.”
What’s Going On in Santorini?
PETA’s video exposé revealed the horrific conditions that donkeys and mules endure every day in Santorini.
Watch the video above to see handlers dragging animals down the steps and whipping and hitting them with sticks to make them continue walking. A new law passed this year prevents owners from burdening donkeys with loads weighing over 100 kilograms – but according to veterinary recommendations, donkeys shouldn’t carry more than 20% of their body weight, approximately 50 kilograms.
How You Can Help Donkeys
- Please join Johnny Marr and PETA in speaking up for donkeys by signing our appeal to the Greek Minister of Tourism and the Mayor of Santorini.
- At many tourist attractions, animals are abused and mistreated in order to make money. Avoid all animal-exploiting activities, including rides, shows, and photo ops.
- If you’re asked or encouraged to participate in such an activity while on holiday, please tell the organisers that you refuse to take part because of animal welfare concerns. Ask them to stop offering these activities.