Stelios Hajiioannou makes a donation of 24,000 to Santorini Animal Welfare Association
November 1st, 2008
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (or Hatziioannou) has pledged 24,000 pounds every year to help the Santorini Animal Welfare Association. This is the double the number of medical checks the donkeys receive.
He is prepared to donate a further 1,000 pounds for every donkey that is rescued from its abusive owner and re-homed in a more caring environment. His incredible generosity comes after he read reports highlighting the abuse of the donkeys in the Daily Express and how thousands of our readers reacted angrily and demanded help for the abused animals.
And he reveals how he personally witnessed the appalling misery the animals must endure during his childhood holidays and that the memory of their suffering has never left him. His gesture means that every donkey and mule on the island will receive a better standard of care. And it is likely to reduce the number of animals which are routinely abused by their owners.
Speaking of his experiences on the island, Sir Stelios, who owns easyJet and easyCruise, said: I have been going to Santorini and other Greek islands for my summer holidays ever since I was a kid. The landscape of Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic in the world, particularly the view from the town of Fira at sunset. I am familiar with the path that the donkeys take up and down that cliff.
Personally I use the cable car on the way up but I have walked the path on the way down and I have seen what some of these loveable animals have to endure. While I accept that riding on a donkey can add an ?authentic touch? to someone?s holiday, it is not something that I personally like to do.
He told of how, during a recent visit to Santorini, he had considered adding the island as a destination on the Greek itinerary of his new ship, easyCruise Life. But he decided against it, partly because passengers would potentially use the donkeys as transport.
If the Santorini Animal Welfare Association can double the number of times they provide the donkeys with a medical check to four per year, then I would gladly provide the support they need to achieve this with a donation of 24,000 pounds.
Better still, I would make an additional donation to them of 1,000 pounds for every donkey that they rescue from its current owner by purchasing it and finding a suitable home for it. If I can help in my own small way and see improvements in this situation, then I would commit to adding Santorini to the list of Greek islands visited by easyCruise. With better transport, to avoid the use of donkeys, and a properly organised dock, we can bring more tourists to enjoy Santorini by day and by night.
Last night Dr Margarita Valvis-Roussos, founder of the SAWA, was delighted by the offer. She said: This is a very nice and very generous offer. But this is a very big and complicated project so we would need to talk further about the details. I would be very keen to talk to Stelios to see how we can move this on.
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