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Lvra

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Dear pilgrims, for a charity we want to release some balloons at the Praza de Obradoiro, is this allowed? Thank you for your help!
 
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henrythedog

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Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Dear pilgrims, for a charity we want to release some balloons at the Praza de Obradoiro, is this allowed? Thank you for your help!
At the risk of sounding less than supportive of your proposal - whilst applauding your charitable intent - could you possibly reconsider what many would regard as littering?
 

Robo

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Dear pilgrims, for a charity we want to release some balloons at the Praza de Obradoiro, is this allowed? Thank you for your help!

I'm sure it's a great worthy cause you are supporting, but I can't think of many local councils anywhere that would grant permission. Where will all the balloons end up?

But I'm sure @ivar , @SYates, @natefaith and others who live in SdC will be able to tell us if this kind of this is 'done' there.
 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
Dear pilgrims, for a charity we want to release some balloons at the Praza de Obradoiro, is this allowed? Thank you for your help!
Hi Lvra,
I've never seen anyone release anything in the square (and I have no idea how many people have asked for permission! :) ). But as @henrythedog alludes to, the Spanish government takes littering quite seriously and may issue fines to people who try to let something go. It may be better to choose another alternative that helps you celebrate but doesn't leave something material behind.
Take care and Buen Camino.
 
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Given that the Galician government made a strong multi-year push to stop pilgrims from burning their boots and nether garments at Finesterra, and have generally greatly restricted single-use plastic bags, I suspect that you would not get permission to do this and, indeed, you might risk fines. Releasing birds sounds like a good idea. At least it's organic.
 

Meggins

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I'm very much with Dave Bugg - release doves - no litter or environmental issues.
 
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Please do not even consider the incredibly cruel practice of releasing doves.

 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Please do not even consider the incredibly cruel practice of releasing doves.


Thank you. This is why I specifically mentioned an aviary service, and did not mention privately purchasing birds to release then ignore. I should have been more clear as to the distinction.

As someone who has raised parrotlets in the past, I am very concerned about any cruel treatment and conditions of habitat and handling with owned birds. That includes the sale of 'doves' to amateurs to release into the wild without further concern for the bird.

The birds that are owned and trained and cared for in professional aviaries are actually selectively bred white homing pigeons, not real doves. Nor are they King Pigeons.

While a bird can fall prey to predation, it is not the usual course. In fact, these handlers do everything possible, including GPS tracking, to help assure the welfare of the animal, because it isn't only the loss of investment, but also the loss of an animal that they do care for. Here is an example of just basic issues that these folks observe, from an organization website:

Rules of Release
  1. We release only well trained, well cared for WHITE DOVES from white racing pigeon stock. These are also known as Rock Doves or Columba livia. Under no circumstance are other types of doves ever released, although other types may be used for display.
  2. We only release doves out-of-doors during daylight hours.
  3. We never release birds if the conditions become unsafe due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
  4. We will not release birds beyond a range that they are able to safely fly.
  5. We use only well trained birds for releases.
  6. While birds are being held for display, we assure that they are in baskets that are large enough to be comfortable and safe. The baskets or cages will be kept in safe areas, not too hot or too cold.
  7. We never ship birds for self release.

Here are two links on professional 'Dove' release businesses:
 
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simeon

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What a reaction to a simple question. The OP simply asked was it allowed. The question hasent been answered but the opportunity was taken to round on the OP with scorn and negativity. Was a single comment re litter not enough? The OP needs to be commended and encouraged in their charity work. Come on heads up let's get back to being positive
 

trecile

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Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
What a reaction to a simple question. The OP simply asked was it allowed. The question hasent been answered but the opportunity was taken to round on the OP with scorn and negativity. Was a single comment re litter not enough? The OP needs to be commended and encouraged in their charity work. Come on heads up let's get back to being positive
I found the responses to be respectful, and didn't read any to be scornful. Most commended the OP for their charitible work, but pointed out some factors that they may not have thought of that cause the release of balloons to have a negative impact on the environment.
 
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Antonius Vaessen

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Given that the Galician government made a strong multi-year push to stop pilgrims from burning their boots and nether garments at Finesterra, and have generally greatly restricted single-use plastic bags, I suspect that you would not get permission to do this and, indeed, you might risk fines. Releasing birds sounds like a good idea. At least it's organic.
To release birds you first have to cage them.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I've never seen anyone release anything in the square
Maybe you aren't there all the time ☺️. I did make an effort to google the situation in Spain as to whether releasing balloons is allowed or not and whether it requires permission but with little success. I wouldn't be surprised if the practice is still allowed and doesn't require permission.

It was easy though to find news reports where balloons are released in front of the photogenic Cathedral of Santiago. One such photo dates from October 2019, where a charity, together with the young people in their care, releases hundreds of white balloons to mark the fact that these young people with a handicap had walked 60 km of the Camino de Santiago. Leading local politicians are present.

As to the concerns about the fact that concerns had been expressed about the project in this thread: "Simply asking" whether it is allowed indicates that the poster may not have reflected on the damage to the environment, in particular to animals. People feel passionate about this topic and know that awareness needs to be raised. Talking with a desire to improve bad situations is positivity for me and not negativity. For me, it is negativity when one tries to avoid talking about anything that doesn't sound good.

There is also an article in La Voz de Galicia dated April 2017 saying that releasing balloons is not an innocent practice. They point out in particular that given the proximity to the sea, such balloons are likely to end up in the seas surrounding Galicia. Sea turtles in particular mistake the balloons or what is left of them for jellyfish and swallow them. The pieces get stuck and block their intestinal tract and they die a slow and torturous death. The article says that nowadays it is also next to impossible to find a whale or a dolphin who doesn't have rests of balloons and other non-food material in their stomachs. Similar for sea birds.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Was a single comment re litter not enough? The OP needs to be commended and encouraged in their charity work. Come on heads up let's get back to being positive
This was my opinion as well. I was following the thread and it seemed a couple of comments would have been sufficient to get the point across regarding litter, its danger to the environment and wildlife. With upwards of twenty posts saying nearly the same thing I was feeling quite sorry for the OP.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
With upwards of twenty posts saying nearly the same thing
In other words, this thread is a typical forum thread, with plenty of posts saying the same thing. ☺️

And here is a shop in A Coruña, called Parada Obligada, selling balloons and making arrangements with balloons for celebrations of all sorts. They deliver throughout Galicia. They may know more about legalities. Among the many things that are on offer on their website: the release of 200 balloons. Note the background of the photo ...

200 balloons.jpg
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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In other words, this thread is a typical forum thread, with plenty of posts saying the same thing. ☺️
😅😅😅 Very true!
I still feel for the OP though, no matter the "usual", but that's just me, cuz it's how I personally would have felt, especially as they were mostly identical.
 
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Amused212

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Dear pilgrims, for a charity we want to release some balloons at the Praza de Obradoiro, is this allowed? Thank you for your help!
Love that you want to raise money for charity! Could you find another way besides balloons? Twice in the last couple of weeks I have found balloons stuck in brush on trails in the Appalachian Mountains. One I could get to, the other was impossible to reach. It is unsightly trash. Both were red, I think they were valentine balloons.
 

MoniRose

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(5/28-7/4, 2012) Camino Frances - SJPP to Santiago
(7/22-8/2, 2013) Camino Finesterra
(?) Camino Le Puy
Just had to share this. When bad things happen to people with good intentions. 🤣
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2009, 2014, 2017
Maybe you aren't there all the time ☺️. I did make an effort to google the situation in Spain as to whether releasing balloons is allowed or not and whether it requires permission but with little success. I wouldn't be surprised if the practice is still allowed and doesn't require permission.

It was easy though to find news reports where balloons are released in front of the photogenic Cathedral of Santiago. One such photo dates from October 2019, where a charity, together with the young people in their care, releases hundreds of white balloons to mark the fact that these young people with a handicap had walked 60 km of the Camino de Santiago. Leading local politicians are present.

You're right! In general I'm only there if I have a reason to be :D Thanks for this research - it's interesting to see that as recently as 2019 a balloon release happened in Obradoiro. President (of Galicia) Feijoo was in attendance, which makes it appear the group had permission.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
The question the OP poses is whether this is allowed which I think very few can answer on the forum. The question is best served to the authorities. It would appear legal by the previous reference to official presence but whether it is allowable might give a different answer.
 
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Lvra

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Please consider that some of these balloons will end up on farmland where they may be accidentally consumed by livestock which often proves fatal. Balloons are becoming a real menace to farmers who already have enough problems as it is. Thank you.
Yes you are right, i will reconsider another activity but thank you.
 

Lvra

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
You're right! In general I'm only there if I have a reason to be :D Thanks for this research - it's interesting to see that as recently as 2019 a balloon release happened in Obradoiro. President (of Galicia) Feijoo was in attendance, which makes it appear the group had permission.
Thank you for the research :) i will reconsider another activity but thank you.
 

Lvra

Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Maybe you aren't there all the time ☺️. I did make an effort to google the situation in Spain as to whether releasing balloons is allowed or not and whether it requires permission but with little success. I wouldn't be surprised if the practice is still allowed and doesn't require permission.

It was easy though to find news reports where balloons are released in front of the photogenic Cathedral of Santiago. One such photo dates from October 2019, where a charity, together with the young people in their care, releases hundreds of white balloons to mark the fact that these young people with a handicap had walked 60 km of the Camino de Santiago. Leading local politicians are present.

As to the concerns about the fact that concerns had been expressed about the project in this thread: "Simply asking" whether it is allowed indicates that the poster may not have reflected on the damage to the environment, in particular to animals. People feel passionate about this topic and know that awareness needs to be raised. Talking with a desire to improve bad situations is positivity for me and not negativity. For me, it is negativity when one tries to avoid talking about anything that doesn't sound good.

There is also an article in La Voz de Galicia dated April 2017 saying that releasing balloons is not an innocent practice. They point out in particular that given the proximity to the sea, such balloons are likely to end up in the seas surrounding Galicia. Sea turtles in particular mistake the balloons or what is left of them for jellyfish and swallow them. The pieces get stuck and block their intestinal tract and they die a slow and torturous death. The article says that nowadays it is also next to impossible to find a whale or a dolphin who doesn't have rests of balloons and other non-food material in their stomachs. Similar for sea birds.
Thank you Katharina, i will reconsider another activity, a really appreciate the research!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
Yes you are right this is not so environmental friendly...we will consider something different, thank you!
I'm sorry if our responses sounded negative Lvra. In the past I have been involved with Chinese lantern releases and they are beautiful, it wasn't until someone pointed out the dangers and environmental issues involved that I changed my point of view. I hope you find an alternative way of marking the occasion for your charity. 🙏
 
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