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Spanish shepherds protest in streets of Madrid

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Spanish shepherds protest in streets of Madrid

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On a normal day, you would find wool in expensive sweaters gracing the shops of Madrid’s elegant avenues. But on Sunday, it was trotting down the streets of the Spanish capital. In what has been an annual event for the past 15 years, Spanish shepherds and their livestock marched in Madrid to draw attention to their dwindling numbers.

They are calling for the protection of ancient grazing routes which are increasingly threatened by the growth of cities. The demonstration coincides with the annual livestock migration from cool highland pastures in summer to low-lying land in winter.

For centuries, herdsmen and their cattle were allowed free access to some 125,000 kilometres of paths, in what is now becoming an increasingly unfamiliar sight in the Spanish countryside.