Death of rider, four horses prompt more calls to end Feria de Cali´s cruel cabalgata
One of the most controversial events at Cali´s annual salsa festival, La Cabalgata or horse parade, is again under attack after the death of one rider and two horses.
The event has long been criticised as cruel, with injuries and deaths to animals common. This year a female rider died after being thrown from her horse. Reports vary, but some say spectators throwing flour – a common and also controversial activity during the fair – blinded the horse. Other reports say the flash of a camera in the horse´s face caused it to panic. Whatever the case, panic among thousands of horses surrounded by a rowdy crowd, mounted by often drunken, inexperienced riders is frequently a recipe for disaster. Cali police said 14 animals were injured, four of them fatally. Another eight were found abandoned after the event. Police and animal rights groups have laboured for greater controls, but to little avail. Some 2,500 animals were registered, but some 3,000 were in the Dec. 26 parade. Riders are banned from drinking, but animal rights activists have scores of photos of riders drinking hard liquor already in extreme states of drunkenness. “It´s necessary to give this sad outcome some reflection,” Cali Ombudsman Andrés Santamaría said after this year´s event. “We have spent many years trying to have a parade in Cali in the best way possible, but we haven´t been able to,” Santamaría said in an interview published Friday in El Universal. Police, the city and the ombudsman have tried vainly as well to increase the number of veterinarians on hand to treat injured animals, but this year again, there were fewer veterinarians than had been promised. One persistent complaint is that many riders are gangsters and their girlfriends with silicone enhanced breasts who lack any compassion for the animals nor respect for authorities, let alone the animals. Many of the animals are without shoes, despite walking for kilometres on Cali´s crowded paved streets. Opportunities to drink water are scarce. Cali Major Rodrigo Guerrero said the city now is examining whether La Cabalgata should be replaced with another event. As brutal as the parade is, it is a politically sensitive issue. Some say Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro´s imminent ouster as mayor was due in part to his banning of bull fights in the capital.
For more information please read in Spanish: http://www.eluniversal.com.co/colombia/cali/expectativa-en-cali-por-decisiones-sobre-cabalgata-en-la-feria-147000
And for a rather disturbing video: http://defensorescali.blogspot.com/2008/10/no-la-cabalgata.html