Santorini’s mayor has pledged to improve conditions for working equines on the Greek island.

The Donkey Sanctuary and its partner, Greek Animal Welfare Fund/Animal Action Hellas (GAWF), held positive talks in August.

Mayor Anastasios-Nikolaos Zorzos pledged that five key improvements would be implemented ahead of the next holiday season.

These are to:

1. Extend the shelter at the top of Fira Port steps to protect equines from the sun

2. Install a permanent, free-flowing water trough at the top of Fira Port steps to hydrate working animals

3. Repair and extend the shelter, and install a permanent water trough, at the bottom of Fira Port steps

4. Revise and simplify the code of practice for working equines on the island and to harmonise it with new European directives within the framework of Greek law

5. Support training sessions organised by the Donkey Sanctuary later in 2018

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Barbara Massa, European regional director at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “We are all extremely pleased with the willingness of mayor Mr Zorzos to take this time-bound action, his positive response to our future collaboration and for giving us the opportunity to offer our expert equine welfare advice.”

The talks took place as part of a visit to the island by teams from the Donkey Sanctuary and GAWF from 19 to 25 August.

The teams assed the welfare, working conditions and socio-economic value of the donkeys and mules on the island.

In general, the body and hoof condition of the equines was found to be largely good, but all parties acknowledged that some areas did need improvement.

Kleopatra Triantafyllou, equine veterinarian at GAWF, added: “During our visit we spent time with many equine owners, all of whom were very supportive of our work and are looking to the mayor to follow through on these commitments and increase the level of regulation enforcement.”

The Donkey Sanctuary and GAWF will monitor progress in follow-up visits and both organisations also urged visitors to make informed decisions “about their suitability to ride an animal as well as the suitability of the animal to be ridden”.

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