Tourists urged to avoid riding donkeys up Santorini’s steep steps

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The island of Santorini in Greece is one of the most famous and luxurious vacation destinations in the world. Its architecture, climate, wonderful beaches and relief makes it so unique. However, because of its rugged cliffs it is pretty difficult for the tourists to travel up to the island. So to climb the island’s famous steep steps, people are using “a traditional, yet increasingly controversial, means of transport,” riding donkeys.

However, many activists and animal rights groups are worried about the animals and they think this ancient transportation method needs to stop. In their help came specialists what declared that most of the donkeys have spinal injuries and suffer of exhaustion.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition against what they described as a “mindless and unnecessary torture used as cruel transportation for people who want the ‘real Greek’ experience.”

So, starting with this season, the authorities want to put an end to this.

Put yourself in their hooves, is the message tourists will be asked to consider before deciding to ascend the 600 steps up the cliffs of Santorini on the back of a donkey, The Guardian reports.

“Our In Their Hooves campaign aims to encourage tourists to stop and think before using donkey taxis to climb the steep steps at Fira port. It suggests holidaymakers consider whether donkeys and mules are being treated humanely, have enough shade and water, as well as whether loads they are being asked to carry are suitable. If not, other options, such as walking or taking a cable car, might be a more responsible mode of transport,” a spokesperson for The Donkey Sanctuary said.

“The campaign is about to start. Representatives from the cruise liner association were here in my office this week promising to raise awareness [of the problem] and from our side we’ll be distributing, information leaflets.

Our mules and donkeys are part of our tradition. Younger owners, especially, have understood they need to be looked after,” Santorini mayor, Nikos Zorzos, told The Guardian.