Photos show damage done when donkeys have to carry fat tourists all day - Kogonuso


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Jul 31, 2018

Photos show damage done when donkeys have to carry fat tourists all day

Photos show how donkeys in Greece are struggling with the weight of overweight holidaymakers.

We reported last week that locals are breeding a new kind of donkey to cope with the increased poundage of tourists riding them.

The animals have traditionally used on the island of Santorini to transport people over hilly areas which vehicles cannot access.

Animal rights activists claim with obesity on the rise, the animals are being forced to carry ever-heavier loads while they work long hours, seven days a week.

Some have been left with spinal injuries and open wounds from ill-fitting saddles:

During the peak months of May to October, up to five cruise ships a day dock in Santorini, bringing 1,200 tourists who ride the animals up to the capital, Fira.

Locals have resorted to breeding the donkeys with mules, which are bigger and taller, so they can carry heavier tourists.

A spokesman for Help the Santorini Donkeys charity said: ‘It’s recommended that animals should carry no more than 20 per cent 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.

‘There should be a weight restriction. With donkeys it is should be no more than eight stone, but how would that be imposed and who would be there to make sure that happened?’

Christina Kaloudi, 42, moved to the island from Athens 10 years ago and set up the Santorini Animal Welfare Association to help overworked donkeys.

She said in the last 10 years, she has noticed the number of overweight tourists arriving on the island from America, Russia and the UK has trebled.

Eyewitnesses claim every day the donkeys make four to five journeys up the 520 white cobbled steps to the town of Fira with its iconic white building in temperature of up to 30 degrees, often with no rest, no protection from the sun, ill-fitting tack and no water.

She said: ‘The holiday season on islands is now a lot longer than it used to be, meaning that the donkeys are pretty much in work the whole year round.

‘If they are not transporting tourists up the steps they are moving building materials or transporting heavy bags of rubbish.

‘There are some good owners out there that follow the code but generally donkeys are worked into the ground and then disposed of when their working lives are over.

‘They are made to work in terrible conditions without adequate water, shelter or rest and then I find them tied outside my shelter, barely alive.’

In 2008 an international code of practice for working equines was signed by officials on the island, alongside the UK donkey sanctuary.

But with no appointed body to enforce the regulations, owners often work donkeys into the ground before casting them aside when they are now longer capable.

Christina claims that when donkeys come to the end of their working life they are often abandoned and left to die or pushed over the edge of a cliff.

She added: ‘We don’t want to stop the locals making a living or using donkeys on the step but to look after them in a fair and human way.’

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