Siena’s famous Palio horse race has been plunged into fresh controversy just a day before it is due to be held, after a horse died in agony during a practise run.
Please read and take action.
The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports:
A horse smashed into a barrier and died during training Friday for a famed race around a historic Italian city’s cobblestone piazza, leading to calls from animal rights groups for a suspension of the risky bareback contest.
The horse Messi smashed into a barrier on a notoriously dangerous curve and died soon thereafter, according to the website of Siena’s city hall. The ANSA news agency said the horse was a six-year-old bay.
NICK SQUIRES writing from Rome for The Telegraph reports:
The tragedy prompted animal rights groups, which have long criticised the pageant as cruel and barbaric, to urge that Saturday’s race be cancelled.
Veterinarians were called to try to save the horse but
itshis injuries were too severe and ithe reportedly died of cardiac arrest and shock. ItsHis death means that there will be one less ‘contrada’ or medieval district of Siena, contesting Sunday’s race.
The death revived the debate over the tradition, which dates back in its current form to the mid-17th century.
One of Italy’s most prominent animal rights organisations, LAV, called for the Palio to be scrapped and for the opening of an independent investigation into the accident.
“We believe the Palio should be suspended as a sign of respect,” the organisation said in a statement.
The race had been “stained with the blood of another innocent victim”.
Since 1970 around 50 horses have died after falling, colliding or being trampled in the breakneck race, which normally lasts less than two minutes.
Authorities in Siena said the event would continue as normal.
Siena’s Palio, the most famous of several historic horse races held in Italy, takes place twice a year – on July 2 and Aug 16.
Italy’s tourism minister Michela Brambilla blocked the centuries old Palio horse race from being nominated for World Heritage status over concerns about animal cruelty.
The move angered local politicians and residents who say it is a “cultural spectacle” that should be included.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Add your important voice. Join the Int’l Fund for Horses — who are protesting this race and calling for the cancellation of the August 16th race as well as the permanent removal of the Palio horse race from Italy’s events calendar — by sending your comments to (1) the Italian Embassy in your country, and (2) the Italian Ministry of Tourism Office.
If you only have time to send one email, please send it to the Italian Ministry of Tourism Office.
(1) ITALIAN MINISTRY OF TOURISM OFFICE
Send them a message via their online contact form.
(2) EMBASSY ADDRESSES
WASHINGTON D.C. — Embassy of Italy
Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata (Mr)
Address: 3000 Whitehaven Street, NW Washington DC 20008 USA
Tel: (202) 612-4400 — Fax: (202) 518-2151
E-mail: Press and Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org and Cultural Affairs at email@example.com
LONDON ENGLAND — Embassy of Italy
Ambassador Alain Giorgio Maria Economides (Mr)
Address: 14, Three Kings Yard, London W1K 4EH
Tel: +44 (0)20 73122200 — Fax: +44 (0)20 73122230
Email: Press, Public Diplomacy and Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org
OTTAWA CANADA — Embassy of Italy
Ambassador Andrea Meloni (Mr)
Address: 275 Slater Street, 21st Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H9 CANADA
Tel: (613) 232-2401 — Fax: (613) 233-1484
Email: Office of the Ambassador at email@example.com
MESSI, RUN IN PEACE