Bizarre duck-throwing festival banned in Spanish town after 97 years

Duck throwing festival in Spanish town is banned by town council.
Man chases a duck in annual duck-throwing festival that has been banned by Spanish town of Roses. Photo: Courtesy of Town of Roses
The duck-throwing festival — one of the most bizarre festivals in Spain, or anywhere for that matter — has occurred each August for 97 years in the resort town of Roses in Catalonia. But starting this summer, it’ll be only an odd memory.

The town council of Roses voted to ban the duck-throwing festival, also known as the duck chase, because of its cruelty to animals, The Local in Spain reported, and the controversial incident at last year’s event no doubt precipitated the action.

A woman holding a duck by its legs struck an animal-rights campaigner with the duck as she walked toward shore, and it was captured in a YouTube video you can watch at the bottom of this article.

The duck-throwing festival during the August Festa Major in the coastal town involved ducks being thrown from a boat into the Mediterranean, where swimmers chased them, caught them and took them back to shore, where they received a prize.

“Times change and society is going down a different path,” Montse Mindan, the mayor of Roses who fought for the ban, told The Local.

The vote was close, with eight voting in favor, seven against and one abstaining.

The town of Roses also voted to ban its annual bull run, or correbous, known as “les vaquetes de Roses,” The Local reported. (This is not to be mistaken for the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.)

“These celebrations are extremely controversial, since they are now considered to be cases of animal abuse, and are celebrated every year among protests,” read the motion to ban these practices.

“A large portion of society no longer accepts the use of animals in entertainment and the protection of animals is an important value for today’s society.”

PACMA, a Spanish political party that works for the rights of animals, environmental protection and social justice, called it a historic triumph.

“This move shows that authorities can no longer govern with their backs to popular sentiment, which is increasingly demanding tough action against the exploitation and mistreatment of animals,” Pilar Ferràndiz, leader of PACMA, told The Telegraph.

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