A while ago we already reported about the miserable situation of the Lindos-donkeys, that are forced to work as carriers for tourists; most greek embassies and consulats in Austria, Germany and Swizerland, as well as relevant tourism-operators received post from us regarding this issue. In this campaign we want to go a step further and describe the impressions from on site. Follwing is a heartbreaking report from Eva, who had to witness the tragedy first hand.
Rhodes – what the tourism branch is hiding from us! A vacation report – summer 2022
The first time we went to the greek island Rhodes was July 2022. The island is known for it`s 280 days of sunshine a year.
Finally vacation – finally time to relax – the joy was great! After a 2,5h flight we arrived on the island and pickt up our rental car. We started driving towards the city, who is praised as one of the main tourist attractions of Rhodes – LINDOS. However, what awaited us in Lindos hit us with full force. The holiday feeling was gone at once. Unbelivable sadness and bewilderment overcame us as we saw …
The suffering of the Lindos donkeys
… they are called „Lindos – taxis“, a mode of transportation for tourists, on four legs. Tied up in the sweltering heat, with nothing to drink and often with no place in the shade. They stand motionless, surrounded by tourists on whose mercy they depend on.
„It was extremely hot, the temperature was over 40 degrees. The donkeys were tied at locations without shade. They had to wait for tourists near the port. They didn’t even have access to water.“
“The donkeys seemed completely scared to me. They stood apathetically like statues next to their owners and didn’t dare to move.“
On the back of the „Lindos taxis“ you can be transported from the port through the old town or up to the Acropolis for little money. There is also a “donkey taxi station” in the center.
Up and down, for hours, with tourists on their backs far too heavy to carry, the donkeys are forced by their care takers to continue.
„… I have witnessed how completely exhausted donkeys were rushed up and down to get the next tourists. All this after many hours of work, without water in the burning heat.“
„Some donkeys started to roar loudly from the exhaustion – selfies and videos were taken, recorded and laughed at – for holiday memories“
‚Anyone is allowed to ride the donkeys. Overweight and far too heavy tourists, sometimes even two tourists on one donkey!‘
Alongside the narrow, white streets, you will always come across shops that advertise donkey souvenirs and paint a picture of seemingly happy donkeys.
Blinded by the desire of an „original Greek holiday experience“, the „taxi guests“ do not realize that some of the donkeys have obvious injuries.
„Some of the harnesses didn’t fit properly and cut into sore spots where flies were already gathering.“
„I saw injured donkeys with open, inflamed wounds, extreme skin lesions and scars.“
After a long and excrutiating working day the donkeys were brought to (fenced) enclosures, close to the city center. Most of them were tied without sufficient care. In some enclosures was too little water (tipped over baskets) and and insufficient amount of food – some donkeys were emaciated.
„On some properties was no or too little water available (partly too small, overturned or inaccessible buckets) and insufficient feeding – some of the donkeys were extremely emaciated.“
“We became aware of a loudly roaring donkey. The rope it was tied to was so short that it could not reach the water in front of it.”
Departure and a promise
The day of the departure came. Leaving the donkeys behind, not knowing they were well cared for broke our hearts.
We said our goodbye and made a promise not to forget them – we would come back and try to help them. We would find people to support us to shine awareness on this injustice.
We sat down in our rental car and drove off…unbelievable sadness and a deep desire for change spread through us – as we took a last look at them…
Violations of the animal welfare laws
Animal welfare organizations have been drawing attention to the suffering of donkey taxis in Greece for years. Despite the tightening of the law in 2018, their suffering continues and is even supported by many tourism sites by advertising them as „tourist attractions“.
The current photos taken this year 2022 show that national and EU animal welfare regulations are still being violated.
On behalf of all Lindos donkeys – Please help us!!!
… help us by deliberately not using the Lindos taxis and instead exploring the beautiful old town by foot.
… help us by documenting violations of the law and abuses with photos and videos, reporting them and/or sending them to animal rights organisations.
… help us by notifying the local police in case of grievances (no drinking facilities, injuries, transporting too heavy tourists, neglect etc.) – please do not be afraid to do so (Lindos Police: +30 2244 031223 or 100 or 112)
… help us by informing those around you and reporting on your experiences and views on tourism websites/social media
… help us by asking those responsible to make improvements
…help us by offering your help to those that are active on site, such as the organisations „Liber Life Rhodes“ or „RespekTiere“, or by becoming active yourself.
On behalf of all Lindos donkeys – thank you for your help! – Σας ευχαριστώ για τη βοήθειά σας