May 20, 12:40 PM EDT

Mexico files complaint against Maya duck-killing ceremony


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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican environmental authorities say they have filed an animal cruelty complaint over a ceremony practiced by a Mayan community in Yucatan state that includes ripping the head off a live duck.

The ceremony is known in the Mayan language as "Kots Kaal Pato," which roughly translates as "Strangle the Duck," or dance of the strangled duck.

Ducks are tied to a high wooden crossbeam by their feet, and youths from the village of Citilcum compete to see who can grab the duck's head and tear it off.

The Attorney General's Office for Environmental Protection said Wednesday that it had filed the cruelty complaint with prosecutors, even though domestic animals are not under the office's purview.

Animal rights groups have called for the ceremony to be banned.

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