CURACAVÍ – With less than ten days before the Fiestras Patrias take off in Chile, animal activists in the commune of Curacaví have burned down parts of an arena where the traditional rodeo is held. At the scene, pamphlets were found defending the activists’ motives. According to the commune’s mayor, the arena can’t be used during the national celebrations around the 18th of September.
No rodeo for the citizens of Curacaví, 30 minutes east of Santiago, this year. While preparations for the Fiestas Patrias are ongoing, animal activists snuck in the local corral and burned down the most essential parts of the crescent-shaped arena on Saturday night. Parts where the jury sits and where the animals enter the corral were heavily damaged, just as some stands.
Chilean rodeo, a national sport where two riders guide a calf around a corral, has always been subject of controversy over the physical and mental damage done to both calf and horse. An incendiary attack hurts the sport in its very core, as the Fiestas Patrias traditionally involve Chilean rodeo.
“No More Rodeo”
Policemen at the scene found pamphlets from animal activists, protesting the national sport of Chile. “No more rodeos. Empathy, conscience and reaction“, they read,
The mayor of Curacaví, Juan Pablo Barros Basso, said that the arson attack was focused on the most important parts of the arena, so that the corral would not be of any use during the Fiestas Patrias.
Organizations of rodeo riders rejected the attack. “Those who carried out this attack […] fail to understand that our country is a state where everyone has the right to express themselves”, the Chilean Rodeo Confederation said. “It was a place that over time has become a center of citizen activity, sheltering not only our sport, but also other activities that benefit the entire community of Curacaví”.
According to CNN Chile, Patricia Cocas from Proanimal Chile, said: “I am much more alarmed that rodeo activities continue throughout Chile and that there are still people who endorse it, while it’s an obvious act of animal abuse”.
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Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.