Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spanish shepherds protest urban sprawl

Spanish shepherds led flocks of sheep through the streets of central Madrid in defense of ancient grazing, migration and droving rights threatened by urban sprawl.

Jesus Garzon, president of a shepherds council established in 1273, said some 5,000 sheep and 60 cattle crossed the city to exercise the right to droving routes that existed before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great capital it is today.

Photo:  AFP/Getty

Shepherds have a right to use 78,000 miles of paths for seasonal livestock migrations from cool highland pastures in summer to warmer grazing in winter. The movement is called transhumance and in Spain it involves around a million animals, mostly sheep and cattle.

Some paths have been used annually for more than 800 years and modern-day Madrid is in the way of two north-south routes, one dating back to 1372.

Read full Telegraph article

Thanks to Jeff Semler for suggesting this entry.

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