Greece’s Ministry of Agriculture has introduced new rules to protect the donkeys of Santorini, including a riding ban on tourists who weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), following a campaign by animal rights groups saying that burdening the donkeys with excessive loads is tantamount to torture.
Working donkeys, mules and horses “should not be burdened with loads that are excessive to their size, age and physical condition. Any load cannot exceed 100 kilograms or one-fifth of the animal’s body weight,” the ministry’s new rules stipulate.
The regulations, which do not apply only to the popular holiday island, also prohibit owners from using donkeys that are infirm, pregnant or badly shod, while also compelling them to ensure that their donkeys are well fed and watered.
Animal rights activists over the summer took to social media to protest the use of donkeys to carry obese tourists around Santorini’s craggy and steep footpaths.