...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



San Marzano (TA): Procession of the firewood – we ask for an enlightened change


(12 March 2014)

San Marzano di San Giuseppe, in the Province of Taranto: March is the month of the yearly ‘Processione delle fascine’ – the Procession of the firewood.
A religious tradition dating back to the 800s: a great bonfire is built, dedicated to San Giuseppe. The wood for this is gathered in bundles and transported by horse-drawn carts, carts which are invariably grossly overloaded, given that there is no ruling about weight. The route is around 3 km in length, with many sharp bends and steep inclines. Frequently the horses have difficulty starting off as the loads are so heavy, and then slip and slide on the asphalt, all the while being harshly pushed on by their owners while the crowds scream and shout around them. Some horses are forced to go down on their knees before the statue of the patron saint when they finally arrive at their destination.

The organisers call the horses ‘grand protagonists’, while in reality these are simple animals, harshly driven and humiliated, as can be seen in this video from previous years:
(video editor: Ottavia Poli)

We have written to the task force for animal well being at the Ministry of Health, since in our considered opinion this is a clear case of illegal cruelty and mistreatment. We have also sent a complaint to the head of the ASL, asking for a copy of the regulations and criteria governing the cartloads, and additionally proposing the civilised move of using tractors instead of horses.

We have also asked the local council asking to be invited to the meeting which will set the rules for the procession.
We ask you all to send a letter or a postcard of protest to the Mayor, by post or fax.
Sending e-mail is only possible through PEC (certified mail):
sindaco@pec.sanmarzano-ta.gov.it e vicesindaco@pec.sanmarzano-ta.gov.it


TO: Sindaco di
San Marzano di San Giuseppe
Piazza A. Casalini
74020 San Marzano (TA)
fax 099 9577721

Sono venuto a conoscenza della “processione delle fascine” durante la quale ogni anno, in onore al santo patrono, molti cavalli sono costretti a trainare dei carri stracolmi di legna.Spesso gli animali fanno fatica a ripartire, scivolano sull’asfalto e vengono incitati con metodi bruschi dai proprietari, mentre la folla urla tutt’intorno.Ritengo questo sfruttamento degli animali non degno e pertanto La prego di compiere un gesto di civiltà, sostituendo i cavalli con dei trattori, che nulla toglierebbero alla manifestazione in sé, dandole anzi più lustro e un’impronta etica.
Cordiali saluti.

(translation: I have learned of the “Procession of the firewood”, durng which each year in honour of the Patron Saint, many horses are forced to pull excessively heavy loads of wood.
Frequently the animals have difficulty starting out with the load, they slip and slide on the asphalt and are pushed on roughly by their owners with screaming shouting crowds alla round. I find this exploitation of animals undignified and ask you to take the enlightened step of substituting the horses with tractors, which would not diminish the event in itself, indeed it would add a significant ethical footprint.
With best regards
(name, surname, city).