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February 1, 2016

End Bull Drowning Event in Veracruz, Mexico, Says Humane Society International

Animal welfare organization calls on political and religious officials to help end cruel bull ‘fiestas’ ahead of Papal visit

  • The Tlacotalpan “fiesta” violates local law that bans animal cruelty. Toni Scott/istockphoto

Humane Society International has called on the Governor of Veracruz and the Mayor of Tlacotalpan to put an end to the “Embalse de Toros,” a cruel event where Cebu bulls are beaten and drowned. The event takes place in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, around February 2, the day of the Virgin of Candelaria. In this “fiesta”, Cebu bulls are forced to drink alcohol; a mob chases, beats and stabs them; and they are dragged into the Papaloapan River, where many of the bulls drown.

Anton Aguilar, HSI/Mexico director, said: “There is no excuse, cultural or religious, for this cruel and inhumane practice to continue. Bulls are sentient and conscious beings, and are therefore capable of suffering and feeling pain and anguish. Intoxicating, hurting and drowning bulls is simply unacceptable. The Embalse de Toros and other cruel events that kill or injure animals are the kind of events that hurt our society, inhibit tourism and damage Mexico’s image in the world”.    

The Tlacotalpan “fiesta” violates Veracruz’ law that bans animal cruelty. Furthermore, it is at odds with public opinion. According to Parametria, a leading polling agency, 86 percent of Mexicans oppose using animals for entertainment purposes, and 95 percent think people that hurt animals should be penalized.

Academic literature shows a correlation between animal abuse and human violence.[1] Since Veracruz has a high crime rate, ending animal cruelty as a public spectacle is strongly advised.

Pope Francis will visit Mexico later this month. His Holiness included compassion for animals as a key element of his recent encyclical called “Praised Be” (Laudato Si). As Mexicans prepare for Pope Francis’ visit, HSI Mexico calls on political and religious authorities in Veracruz to join efforts with civil society to end the cruel abuse of bulls in Tlacotalpan.   

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 301-721-6440  



[1] Linda Merz-Perez and Kathleen M. Heide [eds.], Animal Cruelty: A Pathway to Violence Against People, Altamira Press, Oxford, 2004.