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.

Cabalgata - 52 Feria de Cali 2009

(Photo credit: corfecali) The Cabalgata at the Cali Fair has long been opposed on grounds of animal cruelty. One rider and four horses died this year. Another 14 were injured and eight abandoned. City officials are considering replacing the event popular with gangsters and their girlfriends.

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:

And for a rather disturbing video:

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About Connecting Colombias

Recently retired newspaper reporter with one foot in British Columbia, Canada, the other in Colombia, South America. Fascinated with Colombian culture, Canadian connections, and heroic efforts to return millions of displaced Colombians to lands stolen by paramilitaries, guerrillas and organized crime.

4 responses to “Death of rider, four horses prompt more calls to end Feria de Cali´s cruel cabalgata”

  1. colombiadiaries says :

    Cabalgatas can be fun and harmless events if sensibly and compassionately managed. Sin compasión no hay paraíso.

    • Connecting Colombias says :

      It’s true cabalgatas should be managed in a way that protect the horses, the participants and the spectators. What is going on here, however, needs radical changes. It’s just too cruel to have four horses die and 14 others injured.

  2. audiometers says :

    Superb website you have here but I was curious about if you knew
    of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I
    can get advice from other experienced individuals
    that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions,
    please let me know. Kudos!

    • Connecting Colombias says :

      I appreciate your kind words about my site. I think the best forums for learning about the topics in my blog are the human rights organizations dedicated to assisting victims of violence. Peace Brigades International Colombia is an amazing organization. And the work done by Amnesty International is superb as well. If you are interested in Colombia in particular, the more groups you can connect with from inside Colombia the better. MOVICE, ( ) is a solid, dependable organization that has some information in English.
      If you read Spanish, much more is available. MOVICE’s site in Spanish is much more substantial, as is PBI Colombia’s.
      You can also tap into a wealth of contacts and resource organizations on Twitter when you follow the right threads.
      I recommend Dan Kovalik, a human rights lawyer, who has written some excellent material on Colombia. He writes in a variety of publications and posts much of his material to his Twitter account. Follow him and you will find he is connected with an excellent group of knowledgeable Colombia experts.
      I hope my suggestions are of some use to you. Best of luck in your endeavours. We need informed, active people to make change for the better. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and to comment. Hope I can publish material that will interest you in the future.

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