Rapa das Bestas is a "cultural and touristic festivity" that takes place in different towns of Galicia (Spain). It is a tradition in which horses and mares that live in the mountains are locked up to, supposedly, cut their manes, worm them and cure any wounds they may have. Many people consider this event as something "heroic" and worthy of being preserved, but do not consider what it really means for the animals. In many cases, there is simply a complete lack of knowledge about what happens there.

During the 2022 summer Xiana Castro and Eira Do Val documented the festivity celebrated in the village of Vimianzo (A Coruña) to show what really happens in these celebrations. Through their images we can see the violent subjugation of these animals and the suffering that this implies.

Eira Do Val, fotografía, explotación animal, animals view
Eira Do Val, fotografía, explotación animal, animals view

The day before the festivity, people on foot, horseback or motorcycle lead the animals to an enclosure; the next day they will be taken to the "curro", which is the name given to the place where the public event of the “rapa”, the trimming, will take place.

First, the foals are separated from the group. It is easy to understand the enormous suffering generated by this separation between mothers and children in such a situation. 

Some of the foals will return to the bush with the others, but some will be sold, and many will be taken to the slaughterhouse. In fact, one of the dishes eaten during this festivity is colt meat.

The “rapa” begins. Groups of men pounce on each horse. They throw them to the ground, grab them by the nose, by the neck or by the legs. And all this happens surrounded by people applauding and cheering the spectacle. In addition to the pain that all this causes the animals, the fear and stress they suffer are also evident. Added to this is the fact that at that time of year, many of the mares are still pregnant, which poses a greater danger to them.

"Son of a bitch, I'm going to bust your ass," is heard on many occasions. It is no exception that most of the participants in these events are men, and in particular those who ensure that the violence with which they treat the animals is part of the spectacle.

Why is no one there aware of all this suffering? Why does the crowd applaud for "another one, another one" at the end?


As in other celebrations where animals are used, what matters is the enjoyment of the public that attends the spectacle. The interest of the victims is the last thing that counts. Once again, we are faced with one of the many consequences of speciesism that, although less known, is no less serious for animals..

Work by Animals' View with  Eira Do Val and Xiana Castro.

Published in September 2022