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  • Animal rights protesters demonstrate for the abolition of bullfights one day before the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 5, 2019.

    Animal rights protesters demonstrate for the abolition of bullfights one day before the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, July 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 July 2019

Protesters lay within the taped outlines of bulls on the street, mimicking police crime scene, spears sticking out of the bovines' backs.

Animal rights activists lay nearly naked and prostrate in the San Fermin Square of Pamplona Friday on the eve of the traditional running of the bulls and subsequent bullfight that takes place each year in the Spanish city.

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This year, however, the event was marked by 54 protesters laying still within taped outlines of bulls on the street, mimicking police crime scene procedure, with spears sticking out of their backs to represent the eventual deaths of the animals at the hands of 'matadors'.

“Supporting the bull runs is the same as supporting bullfighting, as the same bulls that run in the mornings will later be tortured and killed in the bullring,” said Aida Gascon, spokesperson for AnimalNaturalis, who, together with animal rights group PETA, organized the performance protest.

Gascon said many people believe the bulls are put out to pasture after the run, whereas they are included in bull fights and killed in the ring later the same day as part of the city's festivities.

The week-long San Fermin Festival hosts over a million people each year and involves traditional shows and events, though it is mostly known for the daily bull run which ends at the Pamplona bull ring.

Proponents of bullfights say the fights and runs are a central part of the festivities, putting Pamplona on the global stage and bringing millions of euros into the city each year.

Bullfighter Angel Gomez Escorial told Reuters, “They don’t stop to think … about the economic aspect. Pamplona lives off San Fermin. A lot of locals count on that week to sustain themselves for the rest of the year.”

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