Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Spanish village Competa culls and kills feral cats: 'Goodbye cats, Hello rats!'

As my village—Canillas de Albaida—this week begins its annual celebration of its patron saint, San Anton Abad, protector of animals, the nearby village of Competa culls (and kills) feral and stray cats and dogs.

Since November, Competa´s town hall has ordered at least three round-ups of cats and dogs in this white-washed Moorish village of about 6,000 people, at least a quarter of whom are expats, mostly British.

The cats you see below are likely dead, victims of these cat culls and organized kills by Malaga animal control (think death squads).

Eyewitnesses confirmed these actions. Most of these photographs I took in December 2011 between the first and last animal control actions.  

Local animal charity volunteers estimate about 50 cats and dogs were impacted.

I heard about the culls and kills. 

I wanted to see if there were survivors and document their existence. Most of these animals were alive in late December before the last known culling ordered by Competa.

Many of the cats taken and presumed killed were neutered and fed by a Competa-based animal charity, Action for Animals.

Feral cats did not create any health or nuisance problems, according to Action for Animals and Competa veterinarians.

The motivation for these actions remains mired in mystery. The only observed health problem comes after the cat culls: return of rats.

Competa´s mayor reportedly denies authorizing removal of feral, stray or even domestic cats and dogs from the village. The law demands animal control scan each animal for a microchip and call the owner and not destroy the cat or dog.

The mayor's office has not responded to my e-mails about this story.

Typically, un-chipped animals are painfully killed—gassed, since it is cheaper than painless euthanasia, according to online reports. 

(Protests by mainly Brits led Malaga to euthanize cats and dogs as vets would beginning in about 2006, but in La Crisis, the age of austerity, the gas chamber  in  2010 returns as the cost effective death of choice.)

In a tale of two villages, Canillas de Albaida, only about 4 kilometers from Competa, has traditionally supported local efforts of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) to control feral cat populations. 

Unlike Competa, Canillas de Albaida has adopted an animal friendly policy and removes only dangerous or sick animals from public places.

C.A.T. (Canillas Animal Trust), a local charity, has paid for more than 300 cats to be neutered in five years and has enjoyed support from the local government.

Competa Cats Presumed Dead

"Competa Cat 1" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Competa Cat 2" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)
"Competa Cats 3 & 4 (in middle)" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Competa Cats 5 & 6" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2010)

"Competa Cat 7" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2010)

"Competa Cat 8" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

"Competa Cat 9" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Rock on and practice peace and love.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will be at peace." Jimmy Hendrix 

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

Consider a walking vacation in our Andalusian mountains or a week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: and Canillas de Albaida, a tranquil haven nestled next to a national park.

"San Anton--Canillias de Albaida" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)
Canillas de Albaida Celebrates San Anton, protector of animals

"San Anton with his Pet Pig" Photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

Maurizio Cattelan's telling hand, left, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Ca.,

ArtTraveler notes:

After living at the Hotel Queen Mary in Budapest (3.5 stars), I heartily recommend it: old on the outside, otherwise totally modern (26 rooms); 

The owner and staff are affable and speak English and German. Tel: 0036-1-413-3510;;


  1. Does not agree with this blog:


  2. What chance have these cats got, when in another part of Spain later this month a donkey will be beaten to death, ( just for the fun of it????) if the Spanish law allows this barbaric tradition to happen then what hope has the animal kingdom got? If the X pats of Competa show unity go together to speak to the Mayor, he may then take the situation serious?