Greece: the misery of Santorini’s donkeys

On the Greek island of Santorini, donkeys and mules are used as taxis to carry tourists up and down more than 600 steps to the old town of Firá several times a day.

Despite international outrage when an eyewitness report published by PETA in 2018 revealed that the animals were denied water and shade and many had painful wounds, a new PETA video exposé reveals that the suffering and abuse continue.

Santorini officials refused to run adverts from PETA which highlight the suffering of donkeys and mules used as “taxis” on the Greek island.

Massive ad campaign fights to stop cruel donkey rides in Santorini

PETA Germany has refused to be silenced and has bombarded neighboring ports, ferries, taxis, buses, billboards, and cargo bikes with a powerful campaign.

Over 100 adverts reading “Help stop cruelty: please don’t ride the donkeys and mules!” are now visible in the popular Greek coastal towns of Rafina and Piraeus.

The campaign follows a recent PETA eyewitness exposé revealing that handlers drag animals down steps and whip and hit them with sticks to make them continue walking.



Open Sores and Bloody Injuries

Donkeys and mules were observed suffering from open sores, raw skin, and bloody injuries caused by their ill-fitting and makeshift saddles.

Some animals were forced to wear tight muzzles with sharp wire ends that could easily injure them as well as humans.

Under these laws, animals must have access to water and protection from the weather, but many of those used for rides are tied to a wall or rail for hours in the blistering summer sun with no access to water whatsoever. Some try desperately to find shade.

These conditions are illegal but apparently tolerated by the authorities.


Please sign our appeal to the Greek minister of agriculture:

For more…at


And I mean…around 360 donkeys and mules stand at the port of Santorini every day and wait for the large cruise ships full of tourists to take them around 600 steps from the port to the small town. Their owners sell the ride on the animals for five euros as a special experience and make good money with the holidaymakers.

For years, animal rights activists on the island have complained that the animals have to work too long, carry too heavy loads, get too little to eat and drink – and have been exposed to the scorching sun for too long. But nothing has happened since then.

On the contrary: animal rights activists are not popular on Santorini.
In 2018, when they demonstrated against the cruel shuttle service, they were brutally attacked by donkey transport operators.

Animal rights activists say: ” the business with tourists is just the tip of the iceberg of criminal acts. We are currently gathering incriminating evidence against local authorities. ”

Meanwhile, the local slave keepers refuse to restrict their donkey rides. They claim that their booming business even maintains the endangered original tradition of Santorini (!).

The abuse of the animals continues because no keeper has been punished so far.

My best regards to all, Venus

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