Pilgrimage gaucha: the Church calls for end to travel to … – LA NACION (Argentina)

Festejos de la 72 Peregrinación Gaucha en Luján, el año pasado
Celebrations of the 72 Pilgrimage Gaucha in Luján, in the past year. Photo: Facebook of the Municipality of Luján

At the end of September takes place the pilgrimage of rio grande do sul in Lujan, in which the center of attention is taken over every year since 1945 by the horses and their riders. However, this year things could change. Following the complaints of animal protection organisations, those who criticize the exploitation suffered by the horses, many of which are exhausted after towing whole families for hundreds of kilometres, the Church asked that for the next pilgrimage of the faithful to be without riders.

«I wish to summon all to not let a visit to the Virgen Gaucha and it is a good thing to do together with so many brothers in the field who revere our patron saint. But I ask you to try to come up with other means to do no harm to animals,» wrote the archbishop of Mercedes-Luján, Agustín Radrizzani, in a statement posted on its website.

The pilgrimage of rio grande do sul dates back to 1945, when four friends decided to go riding and overnight the 30 kilometres that separate Moreno from Luján to participate in the festivities of may to the virgin of that city, one of the most venerated in the country. The then-archbishop of the town, Announced Serafini, saw among the crowd and suggested them to make that trip on horseback in an annual tradition that is repeated every year on the last Sunday of September.

«Thanks be to God, over the years, this beautiful tradition was spreading to areas more distant. Unfortunately, the reality is that, to come riding or on different media with traction-to-blood and greater distances, this was to the detriment to the animals,» said Radrizzani in your writing. The archbishop gave as an example the care of St. Francis of Assisi, «all that exists» and warned that «indifference or cruelty to the other creatures of this world always end up moving in some way to the treatment that we give to other human beings».

Today the festival brings together some 7,000 faithful. There are gauchos who attend from towns very far away from the province of Buenos Aires, and even Santa Fe, La Pampa and Cordoba.

Along the way they are mounted checkpoints staffed by volunteers to examine the animals, check that they are in good condition and do not suffer dehydration. With the monitoring, have reduced the number of deaths. In 2014 died 18 horses, six in 2015 and three in the past year. But the images of horses wounded, sick and dead to the vera of the route them spread each year and grows the rejection to the celebration, spearheaded by the organisations animal protectors.

Conflicting opinions

«Why not make a pilgrimage to walk the gauchos?, why stress the animal?, Why expose them to this torture?, why is breaking the law by tradition, when culture and society have evolved?», questions the public demand driven by the animal to end the pilgrimage of rio grande do sul.

Eliana Couso, representative of the NGO No More Tas, which seeks the eradication of traction of blood in Argentina and two years ago began to highlight this problem, explains that «in recent years the pilgrimage has become too ‘career’. Whole families, with four or five guys on board they travel long voyages, causing the death of these animals, which plummets down the side of the road».

Four months ago, met with Radrizzani. to support this movement, and the archbishop acceded to.

«The balance of dead horses in the pilgrimage last year was four or five horses,» says Couso, and adds: «you can’t celebrate any feast where there is only a dead. It is a life and lives are worth. Pilgrimage is a human act that involves an effort, why the animal has to do it too?».

This NGO is also pursuing a petition in change.org/NoMasTasto collect signatures on a draft law that seeks to reconvert the sector carrero and formalize. Already managed to collect over 70,000 accessions and point to this project to get an opinion in commission before the end of the year.

On the other hand, the circles of creole defend the care they give the animals, and oppose with firmness to interrupt the tradition. «Not to be overcome and to fight for their passion. The protectionist slandered, showing a reality that is not truth», expressed in social networks one of the faithful regulars on the pilgrimage. «What the archbishop was only a hint, not over and against the claims of the protective, we have to go all without missing any», adds another. On the 24th of September, you will see how many fold to the plan of the Church.

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