Monday 24 November 2014

Italian minister calls for race ban

Published 06/08/2010 | 06:01

Horses collide and fall during the Palio, the famous break-neck bareback horse race around Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy (AP)
Horses race in Piazza del Campo during a rehearsal of the Palio, a bareback horse race in Siena (AP)

Italy's tourism minister has called for an end to the nation's popular Palio horse races, likening them to Spain's bullfights for exploiting animals.

Michela Brambilla's attack on the centuries-old tradition was immediately criticised by other politicians, including the mayor of Siena.

The graceful Tuscan town draws tens of thousands of visitors each summer with the races running at breakneck speed in the main square.

Horses have been injured and put down after slipping on the dirt-covered cobblestone track.

Mr Brambilla says Italy could take a lesson from Spain, where the Catalonia region last month banned bullfights and their blood-soaked pageantry.

Animal rights activists in Italy praised Mr Brambilla, but Palio is a big tourist draw.

Press Association

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