Tommy Lee is urging the Greek government to ban donkey and mule rides.
The Mötley Crüe drummer, who was born in Athens, has collaborated with vegan charity PETA to write to the Greek Minister for Agricultural Development and Food, Makis Voridis.
In the letter, Lee described the treatment of animals, who forced to give rides to tourists, as ‘sickening’.
He wrote: “I’m honored to have been born in Athens, and wherever I tour with Mötley Crüe, I proudly proclaim my Greek heritage.”But there’s an issue souring the reputation of Greece that I hope you’ll help resolve: the sickening abuse of broken-down donkeys and mules made to lug tourists up steep hills on Santorini.
“I visited the island this summer on a yacht trip – we docked there for two days, and I refused to ride a donkey up to the city center…I was especially angry to learn that a law passed just a few years ago to help the donkeys isn’t being enforced.
“Tourists should take Santorini’s cool cable car! Instead, they pile on to struggling donkeys, who are forced to carry humans up and down the 500 steps from the port to Firá’s old town several times a day. Ill-fitting saddles cause inflamed wounds that often go untreated.
“Animals have no protection from the scorching Greek sun and are only rarely granted short breaks. They’re even denied food and water. The video footage [from a PETA Germany exposé] of these suffering animals haunts me.”
‘Welfare is a major concern’
In response, Voridis said the welfare of working, productive, and all other animals in Greece is of ‘major concern’ to him personally and the Ministry.
“The aim of the Ministry in view of the forthcoming tourist season is to tighten the relevant controls throughout the Greek territory. In the event of violations of existing legislation by the audit authorities, the offenders will be subject to severe penalties. It is noted that the envisaged fine may be up to €30,000,” he added.
“We try to make sure to keep up-to-date on the latest scientific data and [EU] Commission guidelines aimed at preventing any kind of animal maltreatment and improving their welfare conditions.
“In this way, we believe that the traditional character of the local communities is maintained and strengthened, their economy is improved, but the animals are also protected.”