Animal rights activists march through the streets of Santiago, denouncing the country's national sport as cruel and backwards. Diane Hodges reports.
Thousands of animal rights activists marched through the streets of Chile's capital calling for a ban on rodeos. They say the Chilean style of rodeo condones the mistreatment of animals as entertainment, according to veterinarian Pablo Reyes. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PABLO REYES, VETERINARIAN, SAYING: "The rodeo may be traditional, but it uses animals for sadistic entertainment-- mistreating them, hitting them, hurting them." However, the protesters are fighting an uphill battle. Rodeos have been considered a national sport in Chile since 1962. But activists say the Chilean practice of using horses to ram into the cows is cruel. They've organized a series of protests to stop it, according to Mauricio Serrano of the group, Animal Libre. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MAURICIO SERRANO, PRESIDENT OF ANIMAL LIBRE (FREE ANIMAL) ONG, SAYING: "This massive protest is being replicated in nine other regions of our country in order to end this in different districts and eventually on a national level." The protests were timed for the start of the traditional competition season, which begins in mid-September.