We work to expose and end the cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport.
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The League Against Cruel Sports was established in 1924 and campaigns to end cruelty to animals in 'sport'. Read more about us here.
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Each year on St Anthony’s Day the small Spanish village of San Bartolomé de Pinares hosts a spectacular celebration. Residents take to the streets to eat, drink and party the night away.
The focal point of the celebrations is a set of huge bonfires which burn all day and are used as barbeques in the evenings. However, these bonfires are also used for a far more questionable purpose.
To mark the feast day of St Anthony - the patron saint of animals - hundreds of villagers ride their horses along the narrow cobbled streets and then gallop through the huge flames of the bonfires. The tradition, which dates back 500 years, is meant to purify the animals with the smoke from the fires and protect them for years to come. The ceremony is also believed to cleanse the village and bring prosperity in the year ahead.
Of course, the horses involved can be greatly distressed by this ordeal and some suffer burns and other injuries.
And sadly this kind of cruelty is far from being an isolated case. There are dozens of cruel fiesta events which take place across Spain each year including El Toro de Fuego (The Fire Bull), El Toro de la Vega (The Spear Bull) and the Pamplona Bull Run.
This year the League will be doing all we can to raise awareness of some of these cruel fiesta events and work towards consigning them to the history books. Keep an eye on our blog, website and social media pages for all the latest on our campaigning work in 2012.
Photo credit: Daniel Ochoa De Olza, Pedro Armestre.
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