December 1st, 2018| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


If you’ve been to the fabulous island of Santorini, in the Aegean Sea, in Greece, you know that steep hills and walkways (to access the picturesque sights of the ocean from on high) make going on foot not very easy. Even for the relatively young and healthy. Needless to say, it’s a tough proposition for those might be carrying extra poundage.

So, many tourists who fall into the last mentioned category—and they are numerous!—take donkeys to get around those steep and cobbled hills.

Well, Greece is now having a new kind of problem. These overweight tourists are crippling their donkeys! And so Greece has come up with a new kind of solution. Locals have begun to breed their donkeys with stronger mules so that it becomes easier for these beasts of (obese) burden to schlepp around with fatter tourists!

Said a spokesman for charity Help the Santorini Donkeys—yup, I kid you not, there is such a charity (such is the gravity of the problem!):

Local donkey ride hires are having to resort to using cross-bred mules, as the donkeys just aren’t strong enough. It’s recommended animals carry no more than 20% of their body weight. Obese and overweight tourists combined with the lack of shade and water, heat and cobbled steps is what’s causing such a problem.”

Santorini is a popular stop for ships cruising the Mediterranean. These boats unload folks who’ve been doing nothing much more than consuming a lot of good food and drink aboard. And all of them want donkeys. Many of these animals have to make four or five journeys a day up and down the 500-plus steps to Santorini’s capital town, Fira.

Santorini also has its own Animal Welfare Association. Its founder, Christina Kaloudi, who moved to the island from the mainland ten years ago confessed:

The number of overweight US, Russian and British tourists has trebled. Donkeys are pretty much in work year-round. There are some good owners out there that are responsible, but generally donkeys are worked into the ground and then dispose of when their working lives are over. They are made to work in terrible conditions without adequate water, shelter or rest.”

The UK-based The Donkey Sanctuary (yup—there is such an organization) has called on the Greek government to meet with them to discuss the welfare of the animals.

With the holiday season coming into full swing, exhausted donkeys and mules are spending long days in the scorching sun, carrying tourists or heavy and harmful rubbish loads, with little to no water, food or shade. Now is the time to increase our efforts to support the needs of these diligent donkeys and mules.”

Britain, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is now the most obese nation in Western Europe. Around 63% of Her Majesty’s adult subjects are overweight, with one in four Britons ranked as clinically obese with a body mass index above 30. (Not be outdone, about 70% of US adults are overweight and about 40% obese.)

And so, as one species ceases to gobble and another commences to do so,  I thought I’d remind myself this Advent Season of a couple of germane verses.

Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
Proverbs 25:16

Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty.
Proverbs 23:20–21

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

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