MADRID, SPAIN — Spanish animal lovers recently launched a drive to outlaw the practice of squashing donkeys to death.

When the donkey can no longer walk, they jump on it until it dies. In a newspaper advertising campaign last month, the Association for the Defense of Animal Rights called on Spaniards to sign a petition demanding that the government include cruelty to animals in the penal code.

The advertisements referred to a Mardi Gras fiesta in Villanueva de la Vera, in which the town's fattest man rides an old donkey to its death.

Ropes are tied around the animal's neck and when it falls or trips, revelers yank it to its feet. When the donkey can no longer walk, youths join the fat man and jump on it until it dies.

"This fiesta takes place in towns all over [the southwestern region of] Extremadura," the ad said. "Are we really part of Europe?" Spain is the only country in the European Community that does not make cruelty to animals punishable by law.

It also seeks bans on hurling drunken bulls off cliffs, the stoning of roosters, the slashing of bulls with scissors and darts, decapitating of live chickens, and other fiesta events.