One more year, El Refugio del Burrito displays an operation to ensure animal welfare during El Rocío Pilgrimage.
With over one million participants and close to 120 brotherhoods, El Rocío is the largest pilgrimage in the Western world. The worshippers will undertake the journey to the chapel of El Rocío (Almonte, Huelva) in carts decorated with colours and ribbons and riding horses, mules and other equines. More than 20,000 animals will accompany them.
El Refugio del Burrito ensures the welfare of horses, mules, donkeys and ponies that participate to the pilgrimage. A team of 20 people, including veterinaries, farriers and specialists in equine behaviour and care, integrate this security and assistance operation that will travel to Huelva from the 31st of May until the 6th of June.
In 2016, we assisted close to 200 animals and rescued 7 abandoned and/or mistreated equines. Although most of the animals were in good condition, some of them (especially hired horses and mules) needed assistance due to inappropriate care and unfit equipment. Our presence is to ensure the welfare of these animals and to minimize their suffering.
During the pilgrimage this year, we will:
• Offer veterinary assistance to those animals in need due to mistreatment or omission of care, through itinerant veterinary devices and a field hospital.
• Counsel owners and users of equines, to ensure the welfare of the animals.
• Patrol the access ways and the village of El Rocío to identify and prevent cases of animal cruelty and report to the competent authorities.
The work of El Refugio del Burrito in the pilgrimage of El Rocío is carried out in close coordination with the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil (SEPRONA) of the province of Huelva.