October 22, 2014
MADRID (AP) - Spanish shepherds have led a flock of more than 2,000 sheep through central Madrid in defense of ancient grazing, migration and droving rights threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices.
The right to use droving routes that wind across land which was open fields and woodland before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great metropolis it is today has existed since at least 1273.
Every year a handful of shepherds defend the right and, following an age-old tradition, on Sunday paid 25 maravedis - coins first minted in the 11th century - to city hall to use the crossing.
Shepherds have a right to use 78,000 miles (125,000 kilometers) of paths for seasonal livestock migrations from highland pastures in summer to warmer grazing in winter.
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