Regardless of culture significance and ‘freedom of expression’, is it worth all the mindless killing? These are some festivals you ought to keep out of your travel schedules.

It is only natural for world communities to take pride in their cultural celebrations, a majority of which are out of the ordinary. These quirks sure do make these indigenous festivals unique, like for instance – the Tomatina festival in Spain or Holi in India. However, we must realise there are some celebrations or ‘festivals’ that vastly contribute to animal torture in the name of religion, culture or plain cruelty. Over the past two months, we’ve been hearing about a certain Chinese festival that is dedicated to the torturing and eating of dog meat, and while that may disgust you, you’ll be even more shocked to hear about the amount of similar festivals taking place around the world. Here is the list of shame.


1. Yulin Dog Eating Festival – China

A horrifying festival in China slaughters nearly 10,000 stolen dogs each year. There are eleven countries in the world that have legalized the sale and trade of dog meat. But nowhere in the world, is there a so called ‘festival’ that is dedicated to serving man’s best friend on a plate as the one in Yulin, southern China. Thousands of stolen cats and dogs are slaughtered at this annual event, and in spite of receiving plenty of opposition, the government has still not called for bringing this disgusting festival to an end.



2. Festival Of The Ox – Brazil

Brazil’s “Farra do Boi” features a kind of sadistic cruelty you might not have ever witnessed. Participants beat, punch, chase, kick and pelt oxen with sticks, knives, stones and ropes. That’s not it. Some oxen get their limbs broken and their eyes gouged out, before eventually being put out of their misery by burning – all for the sake of fun. The flesh of the animals are distributed and any oxen who survive the horrific torture are killed off. In June 1997, the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil banned the festival but sadly to no avail. These practices continue till this day with the Santa Catarina officials still fighting to enforce the ban.


3. Gadhimai Festival – Nepal

Update : Finally, there has been some respite as The Gadhimai Temple Trust itself took a decision to stop these mass killings during future celebrations. The practice that has taken place for over 300 years will no longer be welcome during the festival and devotees have been strongly advised to end all kinds of animal sacrifice during the celebrations. 

There is only one way you can describe Gadhimai – ritualistic madness. The Gadhimai festival of Nepal is a sacrificial ceremony of 100,000  buffalos, goats, chickens, ducks, and other animals. It is held every five years at the Gadhimai Temple of Bariyarpur, in Bara District in Kathmandu and primarily celebrated by Madheshi people and Bihari people. The mass ritualistic sacrifices are done with the goal of pleasing Gadhimai, the apparent goddess of power.

The festival has prompted numerous protests by animal rights activists and Nepalese Hindus from Hill region. In 2009 activists made several attempts to stop the ritual, including Brigitte Bardot and Maneka Gandhi, who wrote to the Nepalese government asking them to stop the killings. A government official commented that they would not “interfere in the centuries-old tradition of the Madheshi people.” However in recent times the The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to monitor and make sure no animals get to Nepal for the festival.



5. Running Of The Bulls at The San Fermin Festival – Spain

Pamplona’s famous bull-fighting festival, San Fermin, is a part of Spanish culture in the most intimate manner. With an immense historical background, the festival has stood its ground for centuries. Even though various protests have sprung up around the world over the number of death caused at the festival, and the animal cruelty, it hasn’t stopped people from showing up in thousands every year. Many would say The San Fermin Fiesta, though an age-old tradition, is one that stands in the way of allowing it’s bulls a peaceful existence; and sometimes, an existence itself.

Even though the idea of the festival is may seem inviting, to a tourist, or even as a resident of the area – the sad truth is that the bulls that are made to run during the festival days are maimed, killed, and even if they are merely injured, they’re left to die on the streets – which is why this year protesters painted in red, and geared with faux-bull horns on their head, laid on the streets days before the festival began to express their concerns for the innocent creatures that lose their lives on the streets of Pamplona each year.

Protest Lying Down Mashable


6. Shearing Of The Beasts – Spain

La Rapa das Bestas is a 400 year old Galician event, where wild horses are put to the test in another disgusting way. To prove their bravado and apparent ‘toughness’ participants (men and women) surround wild horses and try to wrestle them – in an attempt to tame them of course. Somehow this ritual is supposed to garner high honour for the participants, while the tamed horses are then subjugated to branding and the shearing of their manes and tails.



7. Toro Jubilo and Toro de la Vega – Spain

Spain seems to be the epicentre of animal torture festivals. The Toro Jubilo and Toro de La Vega are two such festivals than include lighting live bulls on fire and making them run through the streets being chased by men with spears and the like. Cruelty to the bull seems to be a Spanish speciality, and yeah nothing has been done about it.


8. Tlacotalpan Bull Festival – Mexico

Bulls are forced to injest alcohol, then beaten and dragged across a river by boats…eventually stabbed to death if they survive that. In another Mexican festival (Torneo de lazo), horses and bulls are pitted against each other in a cage…resulting in the bulls massacring all the horses.


9. Kots Kaal Pato – Mexico

Smashing a piñata stuffed with sweets is a common tradition in Citilcum, Yucatán, Mexico, but there is a darker more twisted tradition of doing the same with animals. During the Kots Kaal Pato piñatas are stuffed with small animals like rats, opossums and iguanas while people are encouraged to savagely beat the piñatas in order to kill the animals inside. If that wasn’t enough the gruesome ceremony is topped of by a duck being hung from a wooden stick while ‘contestants’ try to snatch the animals, this eventually leads to the birds blood being splattered all over the audience.