Carrying some extra weight around the middle? You’ll have to carry yourself around Santorini, after Greece moved to ban overweight tourists from hitching rides astride donkeys.
Greek lawmakers have moved to regulate the popular tourist activity on the island and impose a weight limit on loads, after photos of donkeys smarting from open wounds made headlines around the world this summer, provoking public outrage.
Disturbing images of ill-fitting saddles digging into the animals’ flesh and outrageously overburdened animals have also circulated on the web, causing widespread anger.
They may be beasts of burden, but animal rights groups say that allowing obese tourists to ride donkeys are crippling the animals and leaving them with spinal injuries.
“With the holiday season coming into full swing, exhausted donkeys and mules are spending long days in the scorching sun, carrying tourists or heavy and harmful rubbish loads, with little to no water, food or shade,” noted United Kingdom-based animal rights group The Donkey Sanctuary earlier this year.
The group has been working with the Greek government to improve the animals’ welfare.
The new law limits the load donkeys can carry to 100 kilograms (220 pounds), or a fifth of their body weight, reports The Greek Observer.
Owners must also provide adequate food and fresh drinking water from containers that must be cleaned at least once a day, and ill or injured animals, along with donkeys in advanced pregnancy, must not be worked. JB