The cockerel is the prize on top of the pine. | S. Cases


Although a council meeting motion to stop the use of a cockerel for Pollensa's Sant Antoni pine climb was rejected, there will be no cockerel next year. Mayor Miquel Àngel March, one of three councillors to vote in favour of the motion, says that the town hall will abide by 1992 animal protection legislation that prohibits the use of animals on fiesta occasions if they suffer or are subjected to unnatural treatment.

The cockerel, which is the prize for the first person to reach the top of the pine during an event staged on 17 January every year, is not considered to be an exception provided for in the law. This needs to demonstrate that an animal had been used, without interruption, for 100 years prior to when the legislation was enacted. There is evidence of a cockerel having been used in 1897.

In 2010, the town hall was fined 1,500 euros for not complying with the law. There have since been further warnings, and officers from the Guardia Civil's Seprona environment and wildlife division were present at the most recent climb.

The council motion, raised by the Alternativa per Pollença, was supported by its two councillors and by the mayor. There were five abstentions and seven votes against. The Alternativa, opposed to the use of a cockerel in any event, has warned that the town hall risks further fines and also charges of malfeasance if the practice isn't stopped.

The mayor, insisting that it is clear that a live cockerel cannot be placed on top of the pine, says that he is open to there being a public consultation as to alternatives, such as a trophy in the form of a cockerel or the presentation of a cockerel to the winner once he or she has climbed down the pine.