An animal welfare charity warns holidaymakers heading for Greece to look out for suffering equines

The Greek Animal Welfare Fund has launched a campaign to alert tourists to the problems facing working horses in Greece.

It is urging anyone who sees horses showing signs of ill-treatment or suffering to contact them. It is also advising tourists to use only animals which appear healthy and free from injuries.

Among the complaints the charity has received are overloading and working in extreme heat. It says lack of shade and water is also a common problem.

Veterinary consultant to the charity, Janet Eley, said the main problems are found on the islands where there are shortages of farriers, equine vets and dentists.

“We would advise people to make sure that any horse they use is well shod, with a full set of shoes. They should look out for feet that are too long, nails sticking out and worn out shoes which could make it slip.”

Jane also advises people to check out the tack being used.

“It’s difficult to get hold of tack on the islands, so hose pipes or ropes are sometimes used for girths. Stirrup leathers should be checked for signs of wear, which could make them dangerous for riders.”

She also suggests people look at the animal’s body weight.

“Some horses are too fat, which may lead to laminitis, while others are underweight.Tourists should not use any horse which is too old, too young or obviously pregnant.”

The charity also recommends people report cases of large riders being put on small horses or donkeys.

The charity has a base in Athens (tel: 094 423022) which has links to 75 different groups on the islands.

  • The fund is planning to give grants to two people from Greece to train as farriers in the UK.

    For more information or to make a donation (tel: 020 7828 9736).

    Read more about welfare groups work abroad: