In an effort to ensure power and faithfulness to God, the Church has created all sorts of strategies. One of the best known is excommunication.
Excommunication consists in the social and ecclesiastical exclusion of the condemned person from the sacraments.
This punishment was imposed on people of all walks of life. But also to animals, specifically against those who produced some social or economic evil. These peculiar accused were also subjected to the same judicial processes as people. After all, they were also sons of God…
In 1532, some peasants asked to judge to some mice that kept bothering them. The general vicar of the diocese attended to their request and organized a trial against the rodents. Of course, as in any trial, there was a court and the animals had their own lawyers. The court finally sentenced the animals to leave if they did not want to be excommunicated.
A similar case happened in 1616. In this case the defendants were a group of dolphins and the plaintiffs were fishermen who wanted to fish in peace.
In 1650 four sentences were pronounced against a plague of locusts in the Segovian abbey of Santa María de Párraces. In the last one, the plague was excommunicated and condemned to leave the region within 14 hours.
Bishop Alonso Fernández de Madrigal, also known as “El Tostado”, excommunicated another plague of locusts, condemning them to confinement in a cave.
On another occasion, a bishop from Córdoba excommunicated some swallows that had stayed inside their parish.