Taking on a Mexican spectacle of cruelty

By on February 1, 2018 with 8 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

It is almost unfathomably monstrous, and it is repeated around the year, year after year, in the municipalities of Yucatan, Mexico. Men riding bulls goad the animals to chase horses in arenas. The bulls charge at the horses, injuring and eviscerating them. The horses, their guts hanging loose, die a slow and painful death even as cheering crowds, including children, watch.

This horrible fiesta, called Torneo de Lazo, is organized by itinerant rodeos that move from town to town. While state animal protection laws in Mexico ban these events, they also leave it to individual municipalities to authorize “traditional” fiestas, allowing such events to flourish.

Humane Society International/Mexico is now calling for a complete ban of this cruel spectacle, and has collected more than 130,000 signatures which our office director will deliver to the chair of the environment committee of the Yucatan Congress, Josué Camargo.

This is the latest in a series of fights HSI has undertaken around the globe to end animal cruelty disguised as tradition or some valued enterprise. Cast by enthusiasts as a celebration of culture or religion, they can be more accurately described as archaic, barbaric, and shameful.

In China, we are working to end the Yulin dog meat festival, where thousands of dogs are killed for meat each year. HSI is campaigning in Spain to end the bull fiestas where the animals are tormented and chased on foot and horseback, before being stabbed to death.

In 2016, we helped end another cruel tradition in Mexico – the Kots Kaal Pato, where small animals and ducks were strung up like pinatas and crowds of men lined up with sticks to beat these animals to death or to cut off their heads.

Surveys show that 95 percent of Mexicans oppose animal cruelty and believe people who harm animals should be penalized. In recent years, we’ve seen tremendous progress in Mexico toward ending various forms of animal cruelty. Last year, Mexico’s Congress established a nationwide ban on dogfighting, and Mexico City’s constitution was made better by a statement recognizing that animals are sentient beings.

It is now time for Yucatan to embrace this progress away from animal cruelty and ban the Torneo de Lazo. Tradition is not an excuse for animal cruelty, and it is especially troubling when children are exposed to such suffering. Yucatan state is a major tourist draw with its beautiful beaches and Mayan ruins, among many other attractions. But as our HSI/Mexico director Anton Aguilar points out, cruelty of this nature can severely damage the state’s image and hurt tourism. That’s why it must end.

Act now to help ban Torneo de Lazo »

Companion Animals, Equine, Humane Society International

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    This is another excellent example of your vision in The Humane Economy.
    Thank you and your worldwide team for fighting to end mindlessly cruel traditions like this that horrify people when they find out they are going on. Please continue to open our eyes to animal cruelty and ways to stop it.

    • John Hall says:

      Damage the state’s image and harm tourism? That’s why it must end? Really? That’s why? My God! At least we agree it must end.

  2. Doris Muller says:

    The most dangerous predator on earth is a human without a conscience!

    Those who engage in, and those who attend such brutality, for fun and for entertainment are equally sadistic terrorist against animals. However, a government that allows such psychopathic behavior is down-right scary, and it is a leading atrocity of an enlightened society.

  3. wendy says:

    What a sad day for HSUS and all animals. Wayne’s accomplishments were indeed “unparalleled .”
    His genius is irreplaceable and can never be matched by another CEO. This is why the board felt letting him go would hurt the organization more than help it. Those instincts were correct. HSUS will never again see major expansions and accomplishments like those achieved under Pacelle’s watch. Those that follow will feed off his accomplishments and claim credit for a job well done. Some of us will know better. Won’t we?

  4. PP says:

    Thank you for all your amazing accomplishments on behalf of animals. The world is a much better place because of you

  5. Steve Barney says:

    Wayne, so sad to see you go. You did a whole lot of good, and I salute you. Just remember, no one can ever deserve to suffer, human nor nonhuman:

    “Kant rightly claims that (J) if our acts were merely events in time, we could not deserve to suffer. We can add (T) Our acts are merely events in time. Therefore (U) We cannot deserve to suffer.”… “Even if no one could ever deserve to suffer, we can have moral duties, and our acts can be right or wrong.”

    Parfit, Derek (2011-09-27). On What Matters:Two-volume set (Kindle Locations 5191-5195, 20332-20333). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DKR42Y

  6. Doris Muller says:

    While I think that everyone is replaceable in a job setting, I am not here to condemn Pacelle. What I do condemn is the threats from donors to withhold their donations. If Pacelle was the main recipient of the donations, this tactic would be acceptable. However, It is heartless to punish the needy, deserving animals who are the true recipients.

  7. Arden Allen says:

    I am wholly grateful for Wayne having opened my eyes wider than ever on the human caused suffering and waste of both wild and domestic animal lives. Sure, we all deserve respect in the work place and everywhere else, it goes without saying. If the offenders are capable of remediating their unacceptable behaviors they then may be able to serve the cause to help identify and correct the offenders we have yet to know. Let’s not get so high and mighty we disrespect those who would want to free themselves of scorn and rejection.

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