The protest march for animal liberation began at 4pm, and snaked through the streets of Cali. I had waited about forty minutes, with around sixty other people who were rearing to go. I met with a man named Terry Hurtado, who had been marching for animal rights since 1996, and he told me the reasons for his continued concern for the welfare of animals in Colombia. Everyone was at the protest to march against the maltreatment of horses in the Cali festival, but Terry also told me that he and many others march against bull fights, in which six bulls are killed each afternoon for eight days of the year.
The Cali festival has been held each year for the past fifty years, from around the 25th of December to the 1st of January. 5,000 – 7,000 horses are sent to the festival, and every year, twelve to forty of them die.
Just before we set off, Terry gave an inspirational speech to the crowd. Suddenly, everyone stood up and began to walk and yell catchy chants about animal liberation, holding up signs and banners for the people of Cali to see. We crossed main roads and stopped traffic for miles, and then headed to one of the main squares.
In the square, there was some sort of tribute going on for the air-force, and there were TV cameras, a police band playing musical instruments, and a whole bunch of military personnel. They all seemed pretty annoyed that we had shown up, and the military formed a long line so that we couldn’t walk any further towards the front of the squares main building.
The protesters were peaceful, respectful, and even stopped chanting when recognition was being given to the men of the air-force. I certainly had a lot of fun joining in, singing in Spanish what I could understand, and clapping to the tunes of animal freedom. There was only one point in which looked like things could erupt with the military, but it calmed down, and continued on peacefully, but with strength.
We walked on through the streets till dark, until finally we sat in a quiet street and spoke about how things went, and what else could be done to help the issue of animal liberation. I really hope that next time more people join in the marches.
To find out where to go to join in the animal liberation protest marches in Cali, or to help Terry fight against animal maltreatment, visit www.fcliberacionanimal.org or send an email to fcliberacionanimal(at)yahoo.com or bankivaasll(at)yahoo.es