few days ago, probably the most famous animal abuse festival in the world – the fiesta in honor of San Fermin mostly known as Running of the Bulls – was supposed to end. But for the first time since the Spanish Civil War it was canceled.
For anyone not familiar with the abusive festival, a run takes place every day at 8A.M. between the 7th and the 14th of July. 6 bulls and 6 steers who are supposed to herd them, run the 825 meters of immensely crowded narrow streets from the corral and into the bullring.
The terrified bulls, surrounded by hundreds of runners, are harassed and touched all along the run.
Running on the cobbled streets with sharp turns, the bulls also suffer from falls, trampling, bruises and fractures. They often collide with the walls, get severely injured, sometimes breaking bones.
When entering the bullring the bulls are immediately imprisoned inside the ring, saving them for later. Meanwhile cows and calves are released to the bullring for the runners to enjoy as they abuse them, playing matadors. In the evening the 6 bulls, who were forced to run in the morning, are tortured in a bullfight spectacle.
Of course, despite the cancelation, humans still dressed up in white clothes and traditional red scarves to mark the abuse. And the state broadcaster TVE played reruns from previous years every morning.
The Running of the Bulls festival is consistently preceded with creative protests by animal rights activists, and until about a decade ago, humans were even offered to forsake the running of the bulls festival and instead join the alternative Running of the Nudes festival.
Campaigns against this festival, as well as against bullfighting in general, are being held for decades now. Dozens of animal rights organizations campaigning for decades, thousands of demonstrations in front of Spanish embassies, tens of thousands of letters to Spanish governments, decades of a boycott on Spain by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. But nothing helps.
Even the Catalan ban on bullfighting is small, regional, and was originally made for political reasons and not moral ones. And even that was repealed about four years ago by Spain’s Constitutional Court who overturned the ban for being unconstitutional. The formal excuse is that bullfights are part of ‘Spanish cultural heritage’ and thus outlawing them can only be legislated by the central government.
In this world, things don’t change for moral reasons. The two things that did manage to call off the festival and bullfights are a civil war and a pandemic. And still, they didn’t end these horrors permanently but just canceled them for one year. Bullfighting is set to return in October, and Pamplona’s mayor said that 2021’s San Fermin festival should be the best in history. So to end it for good, along with the rest of the animal tortures, what is actually needed is something similar but with a much more profound effect.