Ban Violent Italian Horse Races

Target: Questore di Siena and Questore di Legnano

Goal: Ban two traditional Italian horse races due to the dangers posed to the horses

The palio di Siena and palio di Legnano are two traditional horse racing events held in Italy. Although rooted in history, dating all the way back to the mid-1600s, the horse races are extremely dangerous for both the horses and the riders. To add to the dangers of the races, the horses are often mistreated and abused before, during, and after the races. These cruel and violent races exist purely for human entertainment and must be banned.

Every summer, 10 jockeys participate in the palio di Siena and palio di Legnano. The jockeys race along a path mapped out in the city and thousands of tourists and locals risk injuries to watch this spectacle. This year, a military police officer and his horse were both thrown against a barrier after his horse lost control during the parade. The dangers of this race are sadly not limited to running into barriers. Due to the racing path and its abundance of curves, horses often slip and fall only to be trampled by other horses. No officials attempt to stop the race to ensure the safety of the fallen horse and the other horses that may injure themselves along the way.

Last year, an eight-year-old horse named Messi was brutally killed during his training for the palio di Siena. Messi could not handle one of the curves along the path and slammed against a barrier, dying from the injuries sustained from the impact. Animal activists believe that roughly 50 horses have been killed from this event since 1970. Horses that sustain injuries from the races rarely receive adequate treatment after the race and often die as a result of complications.

The mistreatment and torture of the horses must be stopped and the palio di Siena and palio di Legnano should be banned. Last year, when Italy petitioned a list of traditional festivals and events to UNESCO in Paris to be included on the international list of cultural treasures, the palio was withdrawn after the Italian tourism minister expressed concerns over the many horses that are injured and killed as a result of the race. Despite protests against the palio, officials have yet to ban the event and more and more horses are being tortured every year. It is vital to acknowledge the dangers behind this race and put an end to it once and for all.


Dear Questore di Siena and Questore di Legnano,

Despite years of protest from animal activists and locals, the palio di Siena and the plaio di Legnano are still taking placing in your cities. The dangers of this race are obvious, as horses and riders are constantly being injured; however, nothing seems to be done to prevent the mistreatment and torture of the horses. I am aware that care and supervision has been increased over the years, but the palio is still not, and may never be, safe for the horses.

This year, a military police official and his horse ran headfirst into a barrier due to the dangerous slopes and curves of the path. Although horses have not been killed during the races since 2004, many horses die from the practice runs. Just last year, an eight-year-old horse named Messi was killed from the injuries he suffered after slamming against a barrier.

These horses do not deserve to die in such a brutal way merely for the entertainment of humans. You must acknowledge the dangers of the palio and put an end to it.


[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

One Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


1261 Signatures

  • Carole Mathews
  • Amy Wilson
  • Deborah Mitchell
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Amy McKeon
  • Julia C
  • Janet Delaney
  • Tessie Aguilar
  • Tessie Aguilar
1 of 126123...126
Skip to toolbar