This week, activists from all over the world took part in a “bloody” protest against bullfighting and the Running of the Bulls in Spain.
135 litres of theatrical blood, 75 bright red buckets, 75 pairs of black underwear, a heap of bullhorn headbands and activists from at least nine different countries.
Those were the ingredients that went into creating a truly remarkable spectacle in Pamplona’s main square, as a huge crowd of international protesters simultaneously drenched themselves in “blood” to make the point that the city’s annual San Fermín festival is a “bloodbath for bulls”.
Among the protesters were 22-year-old Hannah Rose Bailey from Albury and 21-year-old Lenny Marignier from Sydney.
PETA UK has been teaming up with Spanish animal rights group AnimaNaturalis for many years to organise hard-hitting demonstrations against the Running of the Bulls and the slaughter in the bullring that follows. But this year might just have been the most graphic protest yet!
Many of the protesters were compassionate Spaniards who fundamentally disagree with bulls being massacred simply for entertainment in their country. Others travelled from all corners of the globe, including Australia, Russia, Sweden and the UK, to take part. But wherever they were from, their motivation was the same: to take a stand for compassion and oppose the violence of bullfights.
The visual was designed to mimic the drunken revellers – many of whom are Australian tourists – who douse themselves with sangria at the Running of the Bulls, oblivious to the fact that every single one of the terrified animals they chase through the cobbled streets will be dead a few days later after being stabbed to death in a bullfight.
— PETA UK (@PETAUK) July 5, 2016
Unfortunately, the San Fermín festival is on the bucket lists of many unknowing Europe-bound Australian travellers. Figures by festival organisers show that tourists from Down Under are the second most common throughout the week – at the 2014 festival, 11 per cent of the runners were from Australia or New Zealand. These numbers don’t even take into account the hundreds more that buy tickets to watch the bullfights from the safety of the stands.
Fifty-four bulls are killed every year at the San Fermín festival. Their deaths are prolonged, painful and played out in front of a jeering crowd. Armed men (and occasionally women) will taunt and spear a bull over and over again, before a matador stabs the weakened, bleeding animal with a sword, posing over his dying body and sometimes cutting off his ears or tail as trophies.
This performance is cruel and completely out of step with the values of progressive, modern Spain, where 93 per cent of young people don’t support bullfights. There’s no getting around the fact that foreign tourists who flock to run with the bulls every year are complicit in this bloodshed, even if they would never dream of actually setting foot in the bullfighting arena.
Most Australians don’t realise that bullfighting is something many Spanish people are working hard to end and, in all likelihood, would have already ended were it not for the massive EU subsidies that support this dying industry.
There is hope, however. Across Spain, more and more local authorities are deciding to update their laws and ban bullfights and other cruel “traditions” in their areas. The anti-bullfighting movement is gathering real momentum.
How You Can Help
Join PETA UK’s campaign asking Spanish mayors – including the mayor of Pamplona – to ban bullfights. Help show these leaders that they don’t need bullfights to attract visitors to their city – in fact, quite the opposite.
PETA UK are gathering hundreds of positive messages showcasing what people love about Spain, from food and wine to architecture and music, to be delivered to politicians at the end of summer and to let them know that Spain is so much #BetterThanBullfights!