The strength of man against beast is the focus of a centuries-old tradition in Galicia where ‘A Rapa das Bestas’ – ‘Cropping the Beasts’ involves wrestling untamed horses to the ground, and clipping their manes and tails. Foals born in the year are branded.
About the issue
In this ancient horse wrestling festival, people gather some 600-700 untamed, terrified horses in a corral, and men and women of all ages brutally wrestle them to the ground with their bare hands to cut their manes and tales out and brand them.
Townspeople claim they are doing it for the horses since many of these are wild horses; the branding is needed to ensure they are protected.
Not only does the event cause great distress for the animals, if branding is needed, wild horses should be gently handled using humane chutes. The consumption of large quantities of alcohol during such procedure should be avoided!
Cutting of the horses' manes and tails removes the horses' natural defenses from flying insects.