Cruel Vaquejada sport in Brazil - World Animal Protection

Senators in Brazil are trying to amend the Constitution to allow animal cruelty

Press release

Brazilian senators plan to change the Constitution, formally allowing some forms of animal abuse, says international animal welfare charity, World Animal Protection.

Currently, the Brazilian Constitution forbids all practices that subject animals to cruelty. However, the new constitutional amendment (called PEC 50/16) would open an exception to practices registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Brazil – including both rodeos and “vaquejadas”.

Like the bullfighting controversy in Spain, vaquejada is considered a ‘cultural tradition’ – where bulls are chased by men on horses, brutally pulled by their tails and thrown to the ground, subjecting horses to stress and bulls to severe physical abuse. As bull’s tails have several nerve endings, this can cause extreme pain to the animal. There are even records of some bulls having their tails completely ripped off due to the brutality of this activity.

Rosangela Ribeiro, Veterinary Programmes Manager at World Animal Protection in Brazil says: “Supporting the brutal torment of animals for entertainment deeply tarnishes the animal protection legislations we currently have in Brazil. It also risks desensitising spectators, especially children, to violence.

“Vaquejada is cruel and outdated and has no place in a modern society; culture should stop where cruelty starts.”

The authors of the Constitutional amendment proposal claim that the vaquejadas are an important tradition and that, along with rodeos, they generate thousands of jobs – these festivals sometimes promote massive music concerts, attracting millions of people.

If the amendment is approved, cruel activities involving animals will be carried without restraints. In addition, it may be used against laws already approved, and to validate other activities that threaten the welfare of animals in the future.

Notes to Editors

  • For interviews, contact Kai Akram +44 (0) 7939 029 006.
  • World Animal Protection staff will join other NGOs and members of the public at a protest the Constitutional amendment and Vaquejadas as a cultural activity on 27th of November across several cities in Brasil.
  • Watch video here of vaquejada:
  • In July 2016, World Animal Protection and Rio Olympic Games Organizing Committee partnered to carry out community awareness raising events about the importance of keeping domestic animals safe at home during the competitions, especially street competitions, such as road cycle racing.
  • We created the Animal Protection Index (API) to put the issue of protecting animals on the global policy agenda. The Animal Protection Index establishes a ranking of 50 countries and are assessed on their commitment to protecting animals, improving animal welfare and recognising animal sentience. To find out more about Brazil, visit: