Greek officials announced that, under new laws, overweight tourists riding donkeys on the island of Santorini could be fined as much as $32,000.
“In the event of violations of existing legislation by the audit authorities, the offenders will be subject to severe penalties,” Greek Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis said. “It is noted that the envisaged fine may be up to €30,000.”
The announcement comes as both Greece’s government, as well as international and local activists, the crackdown on animal abuse — throughout Greece.
Increased crackdown efforts began last year after images of overweight tourists riding donkeys caused a backlash on social media. Images showed heavy tourists riding the animals up Santorini’s steep— as well as open wounds and injuries the animals suffered from working long hours in the heat with no shade or water.
The move comes after animal activists on the island claimed with obesity on the rise, donkeys were being forced to carry ever-heavier loads while working long hours, seven days a week without shelter, rest and water – leaving them with spinal injuries and open wounds from ill-fitting saddles.
Santorini is known for its hilly terrain and donkeys to have been used to transport people over the stepped areas which vehicles cannot access, such as capital Fira.