The traditional dance of the eagles and Sant Joan Pelós will not feature a lamb. | MDB

On the Sunday following Corpus Christi, Pollensa celebrates with the dance of the eagles and Sant Joan Pelós, a character somewhat loosely based on John the Baptist.

Tradition holds that Sant Joan carries a lamb. The rector of Pollensa, Xisco Vicens, has checked through parish archives and established that a lamb has been used for the dance for more than one hundred years. Under a Balearic animal-protection law of 1992, if a fiesta tradition involving the use of an animal can be shown to be more than one hundred years old, then the continuing use is permitted.

However, the Balearics now have other legislation, the so-called bulls law. While this was introduced as a way of putting an end to bullfighting, short of imposing an outright ban that would have fallen foul of the Constitutional Court, the law does have implications for other animals.

The regional environment ministry has cited this new legislation in informing Pollensa town hall that a lamb is no longer allowed. It is not, says the ministry, "on the list of permitted traditional fiestas", as the new legislation supersedes the 1992 law.

While the communication has gone to the town hall, it is the parish which arranges the dance. Last year, it faced a possible fine because it was denounced by animal-rights groups. The fine was avoided because it was accepted that the tradition complied with the old law. Veterinary checks were also introduced last year.

This year, it would seem that there won't be any complaint as there will not be a lamb.

* The dance will take place in the early evening of Sunday, 3 June. Corpus Christi is on Thursday, 31 May this year.