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Please help stop Spanish horse wrestling festival next year

July 14, 2012



Rapa das bestas is an ancient, cruel, barbaric, and primitive Spanish festival in Galicia Spain, which is also termed as ‘Taming the Beasts’, in which men and women from all the ages wrestle untamed horses to the ground with their bare hands without any weapons and cut their manes and tails causing huge suffering and injuries to the horses. The event take place every year on the first Saturday of July.

Rapa das bestas is a three-day festival starting from first Saturday of July and most of the men and women of the village participate in the wrestling of 600-700 horses of different breeds including stallions, mares, and foals. The meaning of “Rapa das bestas” is “the reaping of the horses” and it is a tradition where people show their courage against these “beasts”. This festival is also celebrated to declare the village’s independence and virility.

Please go to this page for the images of this festival:

Go to this link for more info:



To Whom It Concerns,

I would like to draw your attention to the Rapa Das Bestas, the Spanish Horse Wrestling festival, held in Galicia every July. This is an event where some 600-700 horses, including stallions, mares, and foals, are brutally wrestled down. The festival allegedly dates back to the Bronze Age, and was a demonstration of the village’s independence, strength, and virility. Today, this is simply a primitive and barbaric festival that only demonstrates a lack of respect for animals and animal welfare.

Even though animals are not slaughtered during the festival, many horses do get injured, whether it is as a consequence of the horse wrestling, or a result of being confined in large masses in small spaces during the event. Cutting of the horses’ manes and tails is unnecessary, as it removes the horses’ natural defenses from flying insects.

You claim that it does not involve cruelty simply because it does not involve killing. Horses are traumatized in the process, however. It might not be your intention to harm or kill the horse, but all the animal experiences is being chased down, brutally manhandled, and forced to the ground. The vets and officials present cannot prevent the unnecessary distress and fear these animals experience.

I urge you to stop this barbaric festival for all future purposes. You consider this a noble tradition – however, there is nothing noble in taking advantage of sentient beings and putting them through such horrors. That it is a tradition doesn’t mean that it still needs occur. Until this barbarism ceases, I will boycott Spain and share this information with friends, family, and online social contacts.

Thank you for taking the time to read this urgent message.



how would you feel if you were the horse.
being manhandled and abused,
you would not like it, of course.
custom, tradition,
there is no excuse.
cancel this stupidity,
do not be so

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

18 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    July 14, 2012 11:26 am

    how would you feel if you were the horse.
    being manhandled and abused,
    you would not like it, of course.
    custom, tradition,
    there is no excuse.
    cancel this stupidity,
    do not be so


  2. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    July 14, 2012 11:30 am
    this address kicked back:(


  3. Laura permalink
    July 14, 2012 12:32 pm

    Sheesh….. What is wrong with you people? Where are the respect for animals? If your are bored, fight with another humans, not animals, sheesh. You’re disgusting human being on earth #


  4. July 14, 2012 1:12 pm

    This is ridiculous, of all the normal healthy sports there is you have to abuse horses, WHY ??? Is there NO OTHER WAY how you can rather save these horses and NOT USE this as an EXCUSE to abuse these beutifull HORSES??? What kind of standards are you setting for your children ???? Please explain this to me ???? This is animal Cruelty ???? Liza Knowles South-Africa


    • July 14, 2012 6:40 pm

      I wish I could answer about this brutality, but I, too, am baffled at the cruelty, thanks, Liza.


  5. July 14, 2012 1:54 pm

    How can a Country so into Pride do such a thing? Whre the hell is the pride in wrestling a scared animal? To me it screams WEAKNESS! Obviously i wrote my emails and sent them and i also shared this story in several places online! Once again Stacey, thanks so much for the info im appalled


    • July 14, 2012 6:41 pm

      I wish I could understand, but maybe it’s a good thing I don’t. I don’t get the blackness in the hearts of people. 😦 Thanks as always, Florence, you are one of the good ones. 🙂


  6. clifford/christine schmutz permalink
    July 14, 2012 2:45 pm

    Wrestling a horse? Dear St. Francis/speak to God!!!


  7. July 14, 2012 3:26 pm

    Mariano Rajoy is the President now not Zapatero and has been for 9 months


    • July 14, 2012 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much, Rachael, that must be why his email kept bouncing back. I removed it.


  8. heimgartner britta permalink
    July 14, 2012 4:57 pm

    …shame on spain – stupid and cruel is what they like…


  9. liu wai ling permalink
    July 14, 2012 5:25 pm

    Horse is beauty animals, is human friend, don’t use cruelty and inhumane ways to their life. They also have right to alive. Respect our animals life.


  10. Steph Dyer permalink
    July 15, 2012 8:33 am

    I notice they are holding the horse down, violently of course, the human race never stops shocking me…


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