Every year in the city of Citilcum in the Yucatán region of Mexico, a 100-year-old tradition known as Kots Kaal Pato. In the fiesta, locals take to the streets to whack piñatas with large sticks to honor Saint Bartolo to accelerate the rainy season – only instead of colorful paper-mache figures filled with candy, the targets are live animals.

In this blood bath, children are encouraged to hunt the streets for iguanas, opossums, and other animals to fill the living piñatas, which will be ruthlessly beaten and killed. The main attraction of this horrifying event is a duck that is strung up a makeshift wooden arch. The first to grab the hanging duck and snap his neck is declared the winner. The “champion” gets to show off his reward by  tearing the duck’s head off with bare hands. The blood splatters over the crowd with cheering applause and children are showered with candy, according to Vice News.


Thankfully, due to outcry against the heinous festival, the Kots Kaal Pato has finally come to an end! Humane Society International (HSI) announced that the decision to end the cruelty was agreed upon by the Izamal Municipality in cooperation with local Catholic Church authorities and the animal protection organizations.

“We are thrilled that this so-called fiesta is finally over. There is no excuse, cultural or religious, for this outrageous and inhumane practice to continue. Events like Kots Kaal Pato encourage animal abuse and that hurts our society and damages Mexico’s global image. We’ll continue to work with Izamal officials to ensure the ban is complete,” said Felipe Marquez, HSI/Mexico animal protection expert.

In the agreement, the festival will still take place, but no animals will be injured or killed as part of the celebrations. It’s not an easy task to go up against a 100-year-old tradition, but the ending of this practice shows that when enough people speak up for animals, humanity can win in the end.

Image source: Hugo Borges/Vice News