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It’s a picture seen in a hundred movies: a tourist disembarks in the spectacular island of Santorini. Mesmerised by the picture-perfect blue of the Aegean Sea and the white limestone houses, the tourist hops on to a donkey. Luggage in tow, the tourist takes in the breathtaking scenery, while the donkey trudges up the steep incline to reach the destination.
What looks like a fun tourist experience is actually equivalent to cruelty to the donkeys on Santorini’s island. The animals, which are often used as mules to carry humans and/or luggage up the cliffs, are suffering from spinal injuries, saddle pains and exhaustion from carrying weight under the sun. The animals are specially picked from cruise passengers who arrive at the base of the cliff in Santorini and travel up to the town of Fira.
Animal activists and animal welfare organisations have been condemning this practice widely, blaming overweight tourists from the USA, the UK and Russia. Several petitions are being circulated to stop the use of donkeys for this purpose on the island.
As per reports, Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos has said that an initiative is to be launched to raise awareness among tourists about the problems faced by the donkeys that make the daily steep climb up the island’s cliffs during the summer season.
Until then, we can spread the word and pick the cable car launched or walk up the stairs than strain the donkeys on the island.
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