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2,000 sheep make appearance in Madrid

Oct. 28, 2012 at 7:18 PM   |   Comments

MADRID, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- The people of Madrid were treated to the rare sight of about 2,000 sheep milling through the downtown area Sunday.

The herd of sheep, along with about four dozen cows and several horses, were brought into the heart of the city of more than 3 million people from Seville and Toledo by shepherds and their dogs as part of the XIX National Festival of Transhumance, the EFE news agency reported.

The event, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment in collaboration with the city of Madrid, is in recognition of the traditional nomadic path shepherds would take through the center of the capital as they moved their herds from their summer pastures to wintering areas.

The festivities, which drew thousands of locals and tourists, also included the ceremonial payment of the nominal droving fee that was required for centuries for use of the droving route, EFE said.

There also was an exhibition of sheep shearing and vendors offering traditional local foods.

The festival, meant to keep alive the shepherds' droving rights, was first held in 1994 and received parliamentary approval in 1995, the news agency noted.

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