Reading Time: 2 minutes Marr wants an end to the rides (Photo: PETA)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has written to the Greek Minister of Tourism asking him to put an end to donkey ‘taxi’ rides in Santorini.

In his letter to Thanasis Theocharopoulos, the vegan musician references a recent investigation by animal rights charity PETA, the animal-ride trade in the country.

The animals are regularly forced to carry extremely heavy loads. In addition, according to PETA, the animals are ‘often tethered in the blazing sun without access to water or shade’ when not carrying heavy loads. Footage shows the animals being beaten and whipped.

Donkeys are mules are forced to carry heavy tourists

‘Wretched practice’

Now Marr has called on the minister to ‘put an end to this old-school practice of using animals as ‘beasts of burden’ and encourage tourists to use the port’s cable car – or their own two feet – Instead’.

In his letter, Marr refers to the animal rides as a ‘wretched practice’. He adds that donkeys and mules are forced to transport tourists up more than 500 steep steps, several times a day, from the port to the old town of Firá. When not being made to carry extremely heavy loads on their backs, they’re often tethered in the blazing sun without access to water or shade.

He refers to a new law passed this year prevents owners from burdening their donkeys with weights exceeding 100 kilograms, even though. But according to veterinary recommendations, donkeys shouldn’t carry more than 20 percent of their body weight – approximately 50 kilograms – leading Marr to brand the legislation ‘measly’.


“It’s a disgrace that gentle donkeys are being marched into the ground as they’re forced to work day in and day out with no relief from the hot sun,” PETA Director, Elisa Allen, said.

“PETA is calling on tourists to avoid these cruel rides while urging Greek authorities to step up and stop this abuse.”

Marr’s letter follows a PETA protest outside the Greek Embassy in London earlier this week, calling for an end to the donkey rides.

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Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.