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Bill about palios

  • Popular feasts

Following Health Minister Fazio’s declaration of intent about turning the Minister Ordinance issued on 21.07.2009 (the so called “Palio Ordinance”) into a bill, Italian Horse Protection has sent a letter to Undersecretary On. Francesca Martini. In this letter IHP renews the appreciation for the Ordinance, that has filled a very dangerous empty spot in our legislation, but also points out some matters that could be improved.

In fact, in two years since the Ordinance was issued, IHP has built, with the help of supporters scattered along the whole country, a database of the popular events involving equines. IHP also regularly informed the competent Authorities about the events that lacked the necessary authorizations. However, only in a handful of cases the law enforcement officers intervened to stop or block an unauthorized race. Moreover, in many instances, we found difficult to receive information from the competent authorities overseeing these activities about the authorization (or lack of) to hold the event. This was partially caused by the fact such authorization could be, at least theoretically, be granted up to a few hours before the race.

Because of what stated above, our association asks, atop of stricter rules for the equines’ protection:

a) to set a deadline for the attainment of the authorization; we suggest to set it to 30 days before the event;

b) to publish on the web a constantly updated list of all the authorized events, with all the prescriptions pertaining the safety of equines and spectators, so that animalist associations and private citizens can check how well (or how badly) the organizers are following them;

c) to clearly state the obligation for the Local Law Enforcement Officers and Authorities to stop unauthorized events;

d) to set clear and exemplary sanctions for those organizers who don’t respect the rules.

Now, since it may take a long time for a bill to be approved, and since minister ordinances last only two years, IHP hopes that the current “Palio Ordinance”, which dates back to 21.07.2009, will be renewed and possibly integrated with what we suggested above, in order to avoid a return to the unregulated situation that existed before Undersecretary Martini’s intervention.

While Italian Horse Protection is against every kind of event involving animals, we understand that the end of every kind of exploitation can be achieved only as part of a larger cultural progress of our society. We believe that setting some common sense rules for the safety of equines and spectators during the so called “palios” can be a step in the right direction.