Mexico seeks to curb duck head-tearing ritual

A duck takes off from a pond in a public garden in Rome on April 2, 2015. Mexican environmental authorities filed an animal cruelty complaint on Wednesday against a ritual in which participants rip off the heads of live ducks. -- PHOTO: AFP&nbsp
A duck takes off from a pond in a public garden in Rome on April 2, 2015. Mexican environmental authorities filed an animal cruelty complaint on Wednesday against a ritual in which participants rip off the heads of live ducks. -- PHOTO: AFP 

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexican environmental authorities filed an animal cruelty complaint on Wednesday against a ritual in which participants rip off the heads of live ducks.

The federal environmental protection prosecutor's office said the "Kots Kaal Pato" ceremony takes place in the community of Citilcum in Yucatan peninsula, where Maya culture is predominant.

During the "gory ritual," the duck is tied by its feet to a tall wooden structure and people must jump up to grab the bird by the head to tear it off, the office said in a statement.

The animal rights group AnimaNaturalis slammed the ritual as a "barbaric tradition," during which townspeople use sticks to break paper mache figures known as pinatas that are stuffed with iguanas and opossums.

In Mexico, pinatas are filled with candy at birthday parties.

"The residents of Citilcum hit the pinatas until they break. The animals die either by being struck or crushed," the group said.

The environmental authorities filed their complaint with the Yucatan state prosecutor's office.