Santorini is the plushest tourist destination in Greece but the island, loved by the rich and famous, has a guilty secret – horrible abuse of donkeys.
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Donkey owners say if they provided food, the donkeys would stop and eat when carrying tourists. This would mean fewer trips and less money for them.
My team saw donkeys who were in obvious need of medical attention. Some had open wounds because chains used as halters had rubbed their skin raw. Others had crude wire muzzles over their mouths to prevent them eating. The donkeys working hours are supposed to be regulated but:
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The municipal authorities promised ten years ago to provide drinking troughs at points on the cliff path. THEY HAVEN’T DONE A THING!
I can’t express the anger I feel at this cruelty. My team watched as packs of donkeys labored up the cliff face, carrying tourists who should know better, sometimes carrying two people at a time.
One poor donkey went lame and suddenly stopped and its rider fell off. The donkey was punished by being separated from the pack and tethered alone in fierce sun.
One woman is the champion for donkeys in Santorini. Christina Kalouda runs the small Santorini Animal Welfare Association (SAWA) animal shelter on the island. Christina has rescued and cares for 14 old donkeys who will live out their final years in peace at her sanctuary. She also lobbies local authorities to take action against the cruelty. She is so hated by some donkey owners that she dare not go into the town.
You and I need to help the donkeys of Santorini by giving SAWA food and medicines. I want Christina to know she is not alone in her fight to end this abominable and disgraceful cruelty.
I have asked our sister organisation the Political Animal Lobby to start lobbying the national government to intervene and force Santorini authorities to end this cruelty.
For the animals,
P.S. Please share this email and ask anyone you know who might visit Santorini, not to ride a donkey there (we need every bit of help we can get to stop this cruelty). And again, please donate whatever you can as soon as you can. It will make a tremendous difference.