A call to stop the abuse of equines and oxen at the El Rocío's celebration and amendment of the new law to include animals used to pull and carry under its protection.
We, the undersigned, wish to voice our strong protest against the horrendous mistreatment of hundreds of horses, mules, donkeys and oxen at the El Rocío traditional celebration in Andalucía, Spain, every year.
The Brotherhoods (guilds) set out from far away places in wagons carrying intolerably heavy loads often pulled by hired animals whose owners do not expect to see them back and are trying to profit to the last breath from their old, sick and sometimes even blind animals. These are frequently used mercilessly, given no rest, shade or water, sometimes doing hundreds of miles in six days, an indeterminate number dies on the road, their hearts literally exploding with the effort and dehydration in temperatures that can exceed 100F. At Villamanrique oxen are cruelly made to climb 8 steps pulling dreadfully heavy wagons.
Along the way the animals are constantly punched on the belly, beaten over the head and body with clubs and pierced by nail bearing whips and spurs.
The Junta de Andalucía is very proud of its dead animal pick up service at El Rocío and insists that there are veterinarians available there but what is required is an amendment to the new law to include animals used for pulling and carrying such as the unfortunate ones at El Rocío and other events in the region. This need is more acute given the fact that Spain has no national animal protection law!