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Welcome to Mourão, traditional cat burning centre of Portugal

catThe residents said the cat that was burned in a container at the top of a flaming pole was only singed. This latest example of Portugal’s attitude to animal welfare was claimed by locals to be ‘traditional.’

The GNR has opened an investigation in Mourão concerning a filmed incident at which a crowd of onlookers stood watching flames rise up a pole until a container in which a cat was held crashed to the ground in a burst of sparks, releasing the animal which they ran around in circles.

Following several complaints sent to the GNR and to Vila Flor council in Bragança, criminal proceedings may be taken against persons as yet unknown.

The video was put on social media and already is being viewed across the world by people who are less than impressed at Portugal’s version of animal rights.

The event has been slammed by Grupo Gatos Urbanos, which also has announced that it will be making a formal criminal complaint to the Department of Investigation and Penal Action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Some locals, sensibly remaining anonymous, said to a reporter from Público that the cat burning has been a tradition "for many years" and the cat "is well and did not die."

The tradition on the Noite de São João involves locals placing a cat in a clay jar and hanging it on a pole clad in straw which then is set alight.

The fun, apparently, is in watching the string holding the jar burn and seeing the cat and container crash to the ground.

“The idea is not that the cat dies." "This time it went wrong because the string took longer to burn and the cat finally came out a little bit singed. But did not die," added one local, clearly wondering what all the fuss was about.

The wider public is not as sanguine and a petition has been set up to end the tradition of Mourão cat burning, or ‘Queima do Gato’ as they call it locally.

Recently the mistreatment of pet animals has become a criminal offence with a penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine. In the case of ill-treatment causing the death of the animal, those convicted can spend two years in jail.

Mourão hopefully is the only village which enjoys an annual cat burning and, according to locals, "there has never been problem until now."

 

The video, should you really want to watch it, is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCaCRbGyGF8

The petition is here:


http://peticaopublica.com/pview.aspx?pi=PT77607

Comments  

0 #10 Marianne Miltenburg 2015-11-04 12:46
Just returned from a weeks holiday in the Marina of Albufeira, I feel very sad about the many strays and kittens everywhere, AND the beggar with his (probably drugged) dog, young but always asleep...
I would like to write an article in a Portugese big newspaper, but am looking for someone who could translate my English or Dutch version into Portugese.
Someone? Please reply to
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+1 #9 Frits 2015-06-29 17:31
Not only in Portugal are animals bad treated. Humans everywhere in the world do that. What they do to the cat is horrible, don´t judge a whole country of people of doing the same. Horses dying in races, thousands of bad treated cattle dying daily for human needs, bull fighting, dog eating, "fun" hunting, the circus. List goes on and on. What can we do to turn it around? How can we make humans aware that we supposed to live together on this planet? Nothing is impossible....
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0 #8 Eric Fitzsimmonds 2015-06-28 16:19
Please see our section called 'What a tourist can do' on Portuguese Animal Welfare UK.
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+2 #7 Shelagh Carter 2015-06-28 11:49
How easy it is to blame the Portuguese for their terrible Animal Welfare record. Of course we British are so much better - how many of the people leaving anti-Portuguese comments drink milk? eat cheap eggs? eat chicken, pork, beef? And you really believe these animals don't suffer just as much as that poor cat did. Please educate yourselves before you criticise the barbarity of others. Watch the film Earthlings then comment.
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+4 #6 Foreigner 2015-06-28 10:16
This is one of the worst crimes against animals I can imagine. It comes next to the Chinese tradition of eating dogs. But it is not THE Portuguese who do that! It is the particular bunch of people who did this. Most of the Portuguese I know, love animals, take straying dogs to let them be family companions and/or feed straying cats with mild and fish. Judging "all" people won´t change anything. Those responsible must be judged and condemned, severely.
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+6 #5 Wim 2015-06-28 08:33
If you are serious about ending the suffering of animals, go vegan.

Start with going vegetarian for a year to allow your body to adjust and keep track of how many animals are saved from being butchered by your change of food habit.

There's a lot each one of us can do even today already to make this world a truly peaceful place for all sentient beings.
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+8 #4 Caroline Collen 2015-06-28 06:09
I live here permanently in the Algarve Portugal and I am f***ing sick and tired of any cruelty towards any animal and there are many - Portuguese most of them are living in the dark ages and don't care about animal welfare and the GNR too they are not doing anything at all of course I will sign this petition but it will take something like tourists writing in to say they will not support Portugal something like that before this changes - gypsies also are as bad - it breaks my heart I feed and have neutered many ferrel cats near our home we rent from a dreadful owner that is not wanting them all dead so I said to her you want them dead then you had better do it yourself - damn awful woman this is one part of Algarve that makes me feel sick to my stomach she is trying to evict us because we had the ferrel cats neutered, vaccinated and fed etc they are a stupid race and are highly ignorant in every which way.
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+5 #3 Steve.O 2015-06-27 18:54
This just emphasises how sick the Portuguese are ! We only know about it by chance video. And some cretinos then say that the cat was 'just singed'. No mention of its psychological stress as understanding of this is still a hundred years in Portugal's future.

It is like their cousins those c***ts the Spanish throwing live donkeys off church steeples for their traditions. We only became aware of that sickness through a chance tourist video. No local had any problem with it. And these idiot Club Med types still harass farm animals up and down streets ... for fun.

The Portuguese are not just right in assuming from birth that they are inferior to the British.

More accurately the Portuguese have absolutely no connection whatsoever with us British except that we British unfortunately for us - share the same planet. That is the only link. Period!

So stop dreaming, Portuguese, that you are just 'duskier' versions of us !
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+14 #2 Josephine 2015-06-27 08:38
I watched the video (not because I wanted to! ) it made me feel sick. The cat had flames coming from it as it screamed and ran in circles. It was in agony. Those people need stringing up!
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+13 #1 Karel 2015-06-26 17:43
:-x On behalf of animal welfare Portugal is a highly violent and criminal country: every year thousands of nest of puppies are "simply thrown in the container", the country is filled with suffering donkeys and horses (see in Algoz!!!!) and consequentely as cats and dogs are not taken care off (like sterilising f.i.) the country is filled up with stray animals. One should say that at the entrance doors of many supermarkets the beggers disappeared but have been replaced by "begging dogs". Terrible to see.
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