Spanish shepherds lead 5,000 sheep through Madrid
MADRID -- Spanish shepherds are leading flocks of sheep through the streets of downtown Madrid in defense of ancient grazing, migration and droving rights threatened by urban sprawl and man-made frontiers.
Jesus Garzon, president of a shepherds council established in 1273, said some 5,000 sheep and 60 cattle are crossing the city Sunday to exercise the right to droving routes that existed before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great capital it is today.
Following an age-old tradition, a chief herdsman paid 25 maravedis -- coins from the 11th century -- to use the crossing, Garzon said.
Shepherds have a right to use 78,000 miles (125,000 kilometers) of paths for seasonal livestock migrations from cool highland pastures in summer to warmer grazing in winter.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)