The horse fiesta of Ciutadella for Sant Joan in midsummer was in jeopardy because of the legislation. | Dani Cardona - Reuters


The draft text for the revised animal protection law in the Balearics is requiring amendment. The government (PSOE and Més) and Podemos have had to present a joint amendment to the original because of an error which would mean the banning of fiestas with horses in Minorca.

The original text refers to the prohibiting of the use of animals at fiestas. Such a blanket ban placed in jeopardy the continuance of the Minorca horse fiestas (and similar ones that have been introduced to Majorca in recent years) and of the likes of the sheep being carried on the shoulders during Ciutadella's midsummer Diumenge des Be.

Podemos parliamentary deputy Baltasar Picornell, one of those who drafted the original text, recognises that there was an error. It was done in too much of a hurry and could lead to interpretations of prohibition. He says that the new amendment will seek to make clear what types of celebration will be permissible.

However, it is questionable if it does make it clear. Blanket references to the use of animals at fiestas have been removed, and instead there is prohibition of circuses with wild animals and of the use of animals at fiestas and shows "where they are subjected to death, torture, abuse, mistreatment, harm and suffering". These final words, harm and suffering, could be interpreted subjectively in deciding whether or not, as an example, horses suffer during the fiestas.

The Partido Popular, which had been saying for months that the law would prohibit the Minorca fiestas, has presented its own amendment. This explicitly excludes these fiestas.

The final wording is not to the liking of some members of the government. They believe that the opportunity is being lost to finally regulate living conditions of animals in the human environment. There is an absence, for example, of specific regulation in respect of animal pounds and of action over the proliferation of abandoned cats and dogs.

The law does regulate some types of hunting, such as pigeon shooting. Supporters of this have registered a 3,000-signature petition with parliament to allow it.

The feeling is that the law has essentially been drafted with a view to ban bullfights, though even this is being put into the background as a result of the controversy over the banning of the Fornalutx bull-run.