San Bartolo, Yucatan holds cruelty-free festival

Humane Society International

  • Kids participate in an activity during the 2017 edition of the San Bartolo festival in Izamal, Yucatan, Mexico. HSI

  • HSI’s Felipe Marquez arranges pinatas as part of the activities during the 2017 edition of the San Bartolo festival in Izmala, Yucatan, Mexico

  • Soccer balls provided by HSI.

For the second consecutive year, a cruelty-free festival is taking the place of the Kots Kaal Pato – an annual Yucatan ritual of stringing up small animals like piñatas and beating them to death or cutting off their heads. Last April, Humane Society International/Mexico, along with local Catholic Church authorities and local animal protection organizations AFAD and Movimiento Consciencia signed an agreement with Izamal Mayor Warnel May Escobar to hold a cruelty-free fiesta as an alternative to Kots Kaal Pato.

With the cancelation of the cruel component of the fiesta, which would have taken place today, local authorities and HSI marked the celebration of Saint Bartolo with cruelty-free activities, including traditional sports and contests. A number of celebrities joined the festivity: Yucatan TV comedian Tina Tuyub offered a stand-up show and actress Sachi Tamashiro sent a video message to express her congratulations.

Felipe Marquez, HSI/Mexico animal protection expert, said: “Cruel festivities in which different kinds of animals are abused take place on a regular basis across Mexico. Consolidating the humane transformation of the Izamal fiesta is vital to prove that traditions can evolve as societies’ values become more considerate and compassionate.”

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Close to 74,000 people signed an online petition by Humane Society International/Mexico to support the Izamal mayor in the transformation of the Yucatan fiesta into a humane celebration. Earlier this year, HSI launched a humane education program in Izamal, providing lectures and education materials for nearly 500 students, spanning from kindergarten to junior high-school levels.

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras,, 301-721-6440

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