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Cruel festival exposed in Andes mountain town of Ayacucho, Peru

Over the Easter holiday weekend, there was no peace for terrified young bulls and cows as they were dragged from a truck and tormented by a screaming, shouting drunken mob in the streets of Ayacucho, Peru. The event, called the ‘Pascua Toro’, was monitored and filmed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and other animal campaigners from Peru and has been condemned as sickeningly brutal, barbaric.

The ADI video shows terrified and bewildered young bulls and cows being dragged through a noisy mob of hundreds of people. The frightened animals crash into obstacles, trip and fall, as they desperately try to escape. Their ropes are deliberately entangled around lamp posts, allowing the crowd to punch and beat them.

Watch the video here:

In 2014, the Huamanga provincial authority banned Ayacucho’s ‘Jalatoro’ – an event in which bulls were tormented. Organisers have renamed the event Pascua Toro, claiming it is a cultural tradition. However, historically, the Pascua Toro was a symbolic gift to the poor, of 2-5 cows, but this modern-day version has been distorted into an orgy of drunken violence.

ADI Latin America General Manager, Alexis Diaz Limaco who is from Ayacucho says: “Cruelty is not culture. This event brings shame on our town and the people of Peru. We can respect our culture and traditions without cruelty to animals. The Jalatoro was banned and the event at the weekend should never have gone ahead.”

Last year’s event was cancelled after a bull ran amok in the streets injuring several people, including a policeman. This year, the Public Prosecutor halted the event after the abuse of four cows and bulls, and injuries to eight people.

During the build-up to the event, ADI and local animal campaigners received death threats and police advised they should not to attend. Nevertheless, ADI monitors and local volunteers filmed undercover and used a drone to expose the torment of the young cows and bulls and the ensuing chaos in the streets. It is hoped the evidence will get this shameful event stopped permanently.

Peru recently banned the use of wild animals in circuses and working with police and government departments, ADI enforced the ban, raiding illegal circuses and rescuing all of the animals – over 100 animals were saved and rehomed by ADI. The rescue of the animals had enormous public support.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI: “In Ayacucho at the weekend, animals were punched, dragged and terrorized for the amusement of a drunken mob, it was sickening. ADI has worked in Peru for many years and found overwhelming public support for a ban on animal circuses and the rescue of the animals. The cruelty in Ayacucho is out of step with the majority of the public, and shames Peru – it must end.”

ADI is calling on local and national authorities to end this cruelty and urging people around the world to contact their local consulate or embassy for Peru, to register disapproval.


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