Animal welfare on Crete

If you search the internet with the keywords 'Crete' and 'animals' some among the first search results that come up are on problems with animal welfare on Crete. The various chat forums on holidays in Greece also has frequently reports from tourists who have experienced cruelty or animals that live in miserable conditions. In some cases, tourists swear never to return to Crete because of such experiences.

We have ourselves experienced unpleasant things sometimes. When you have your holiday home in the countryside of Crete, it is inevitable that you get acquainted with the somewhat 'old fashioned' way of keeping animals that still characterizes Crete and Greece in many rural places.

Homeless puppy found in Malia, Crete. Cretan Animal Welfare Group, 2009 But even though there's still a long way to go, things are changing for the better. More and more Greeks change their perception of animal welfare. And you can make a difference - even if you are only in Crete for a short period as a tourist.


Greece has a law against cruelty to animals. And the law is being increasingly observed. It is for example illegal to have a watchdog chained with a leash of only a couple of feet and without shelter from sun and rain, as you sometimes see. If you report such things to the police they have the duty to act - and they actually do in several cases. Complaints from tourists hits the Greeks where it hurts the most; Their pride and their wallets.

If you want to report animal cruelty, it may be a good idea to get help from a local animal welfare organization. (See references to some of them below). You can also support their work in Crete.

Finally, one can avoid perverted holiday pleasures like dolphin shows, photography with endangered species and other things that only happens because there are tourists who are willing to pay for it. This applies, of course, no matter where one chooses to have ones holiday.

Cats at the 'Cat Cafe' in Panormos.

Links related to animal welfare on Crete

The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) has on its website the opportunity to draw attention to grievances - also when it comes to animal abuse. On the complaint form in Microsoft Word format under 'other' you can also report animal maltreatment.


The listed organizations are registered animal welfare associations. Warning: Some of the websites may contain unpleasant images.

Tierschutzverein Südkreta

Cretan Animal Welfare Group

Greek Animal Welfare Fund

Friends of Animals - Rethymnon

Förderverein Arche Noah Kreta

Tierfreunde Kreta

CatLine Creta, Skepasti

Kretas gadehunde