"Brincadeira do Boi" roughly translates to Oxen Games.
But in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina
where they take place, these "games" are anything but fun for the actual oxen themselves.
Starting around February, and continuing until Easter, several communities in Santa Catarina perform a disgusting ritual that ends in the death and torture of dozens of helpless bovine.
At these festivals, the bull — unwittingly and unwillingly — is cast as Judas who has betrayed Jesus and thus he must be punished. For a few days before, the bull is confined and deprived of food. Often the food is kept right out of its reach to provoke a kind of crazed behavior. Then, it's finally released into a crowd of celebrants. This is when the horror begins. Villagers set upon the helpless animal, kicking, beating, and stabbing it with knives. Others rub hot pepper in its eyes before they gouge them out completely.
The torture can last for up to three days and only ends when the bull has been thoroughly exhausted and is finally put out of its misery. In some cases, in order to dispatch the poor beast, festival goers hack off its limbs or even set it aflame.
While Brazil has animal cruelty laws, and the festival has technically been banned since the late 90s, Santa Catarina state officials have refused to crack down on the inhumane and illegal event. That needs to change. Time is running out to stop this festival before it starts this year in communities all across Santa Catarina.
We must act fast to and tell the governor that this festival must end. Please sign the petition and tell Gov. Carlos Moisés to crack down on this disgusting spectacle and punish those who, against the law, continue to celebrate it.