Minister for Agricultural Development and Food
I was shocked to see PETA Germany's disturbing video footage revealing cruelty to donkeys and mules for tourist rides on Santorini.
This new exposé shows that, a year after the release of PETA Germany's first eyewitness investigation of this cruel industry, animals are still being exploited as tourist "taxis" on the island. Despite government promises and new animal welfare laws, handlers still beat them into giving rides and fail to provide them with adequate food and water. Local police don't monitor the animals' treatment or enforce the legislation.
Furthermore, many donkeys and mules have painful wounds – both fresh injuries and old, untreated ones that have scarred over – on their abdomens caused by ill-fitting saddle girths and other inadequate equipment. For them, every step means pain.
These rides are also dangerous for tourists who negotiate the steps on foot: in 2015, a woman was trampled to death by a donkey.
It's unacceptable that despite years of pleas from animal advocates, a European country still allows this blatant animal abuse. It's time that the Greek government implemented new legislation banning donkey and mule rides on Santorini altogether. This is the only way to prevent the animals from suffering, so please make the compassionate decision to ban cruel rides immediately.