Spanish shepherds guide 2,000 sheep through Madrid's streets

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Spanish shepherds guide 2,000 sheep through Madrid's streets
Shepherds lead their sheep through the centre of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defense of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capitalâs traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat bells clanking its way past the cityâs most emblematic locations. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Shepherds lead their sheep through the centre of in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defense of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capitalâs traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat bells clanking its way past the cityâs most emblematic locations. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
People look as shepherds lead their sheep through the centre of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defense of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capitalâs traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat bells clanking its way past the cityâs most emblematic locations.(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep and shepherds passed through the city centre today to mark the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Sheep are led by shepherds through Madrid city centre, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Shepherds guided a flock of around 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defence of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: A man from the village of Astorga plays the percussion instrument called Las Castanets while sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep passed through the city centre joined by shepherds, marking the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Shepherds lead their sheep through the centre of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defense of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capitalâs traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat bells clanking its way past the cityâs most emblematic locations. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Shepherds lead their sheep through the centre of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 Shepherds have guided a flock of 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defense of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. Tourists and city-dwellers were surprised to see the capitalâs traffic cut to permit the ovine parade to bleat bells clanking its way past the cityâs most emblematic locations. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: A kid looks at sheep during 'Trashumancia Madrid 2015' at city center in Madrid, Spain on October 25, 2015. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A shepherd dog stands among sheep led by shepherds through Madrid city centre, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Shepherds guided a flock of around 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defence of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Sheep are mustered past a McDonalds fast food outlet in the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep and shepherds passed through the city centre today to mark the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: A man from the village of Fuentepellayo near Segovia plays the percussion instrument called Las Castanets while sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep passed through the city centre joined by shepherds, marking the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep passed through the city centre joined by shepherds, marking the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep and shepherds passed through the city centre today to mark the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Sheep are led by shepherds through Madrid city centre, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Shepherds guided a flock of around 2,000 sheep through Madrid streets in defence of ancient grazing, droving and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: A musician from the village of Astorga plays the flute while sheep are mustered through the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep passed through the city centre joined by shepherds, marking the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Sheep are led past a ham shop in Madrid on October 25, 2015. Shepherds leading about 2000 sheep arrived to the capital, called by Transhumance and Nature association, to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of transhumance (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8000 years. AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25: Sheep are mustered past the Town Hall in the Spanish capital to promote the conservation of the ancient paths of migration (moving flocks from winter to summer pastures) dating back some 8,000 years on October 25, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Two thousand sheep and shepherds passed through the city centre today to mark the annual livestock migration festival which has taken place in the Spanish capital since 1994. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) -- Spanish shepherds have led 2,000 sheep through the streets of Madrid in defense of age-old droving, grazing and migration rights that are increasingly threatened by urban sprawl and fenced-in pastures.

Tourists and children were surprised to see wide avenues blocked off in the Spanish capital to let the woolly parade -- bleating loudly and clanking bells -- cross the city, accompanied by sheepdogs.

Government agriculture spokesman Carlos Cabanas says the tradition is essential to "maintain native breeds that are in danger of extinction."

Shepherds have held the right since at least 1273 to use droving routes across land that used to be open fields before Madrid became a sprawling metropolis.

A shepherd handed over 150 maravedies -- coins minted in the 11th century -- to city officials for the crossing.

Sheep Migrate Through Madrid Streets

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