Rapa das Bestas (Shearing of the Beasts) festival in Sabucedo, Spain

40 photos

While the running of the bulls in Pamplona is arguably one of Spain’s biggest attractions, on the Northwestern coast of the country, Galicians celebrate the lesser known tradition Rapa das Bestas, or shearing of the beasts. The tradition, which involves wrestling wild horses to the ground and trimming their manes and tails, is a 400 year old tradition in the region. Horses are corralled into a village where they face aloitadores or fighters in this man vs. animal challenge – minus weapons, just bare hands and hooves. While locals say its tradition and helps identify horses that are ill, animal rights groups say the tradition is barbaric and should be stopped.

Flip through the images below to see aloitadores aggressively shear horse manes in this four century year old tradition.

Comment now: Spain’s Rapa das Bestas – Wrestling tradition or animal cruelty?