Spanish town spears bull for festival
September 14, 2010
Townspeople in central Spain joined in a centuries-old festival on Tuesday to spear a bull to the death, prompting an outcry from animal rights activists.
Carrying lances on horseback and on foot, hundreds of residents of Tordesillas commemorated the “Toro de la Vega” festival, held every second Tuesday of September since at least 1453.
The bull, named Platanito, charged through the streets of the fortified town, across a bridge over the River Duero and into a lightly forested plain (vega, in Spanish) where it was lanced to the death.
The spectacle lasted about half an hour.
“Spectacles like the Toro de Tordesillas should no longer exist. A country like Spain should not maintain such cruel traditions,” said Nacho Paunero, president of the animal rights group El Refugio.
A survey conducted for the group found 76 percent of those polled agreed that such festivals should be banned, Paunero said in a statement.
Paunero said he had sent a request to Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero demanding that a draft animal protection law forbid spectacles such as the Toro de La Vega.
The Socialist Party government had promised in its electoral program to draw up a draft animal protection law, and any such legislation would have to ban events such as the “Toro de La Vega,” he said.
Each region of Spain has responsibility for its own animal protection laws, usually with exceptions for bullfighting. The festival in Tordesillas is allowed under the laws of the Castilla y Leon region.
Protests by anti-bullfighting groups have mounted in Spain since the northeastern regional parliament of Catalonia agreed in July to ban bullfighting from 2012.
Another anti-bullfighting and animal rights group, PACMA, had rallied hundreds of protesters on Sunday to decry the festival, which predates the introduction of the classic bullfight at the end of the 17th century.
While calling for the festival to be scrapped, PACMA also demanded that it no longer be promoted as an event of National Tourism Interest.
Link / story: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/spanish-town-spears-bull-for-festival-20100914-15av3.html
ACTIONS – PROTESTS
Poor Platanito is now dead after his toment at the hands of man; but his plight and suffering will never be forgotten; it will just make us all stronger to stop this even more quickly.
Despite his death, actions to show disgust at this animal abuse can and will continue. Spain needs to be informed that it exists in a 21st century Europe, not still in the 1600’s when this barbaric ritual started.
There has been widespread global condemnation of this event, even from some major Spanish newspapers – El Pais:
Please use the following links to access directly with e mail complaints:
Tordesillas Official website:
Tourism office of Tordesillas:
- obviously think that lancing a bull to death with 12 foot long lances is a good tourism drive !
- – let them know otherwise by leaving a mail message.
Complain to the Spanish embassy in your own country by using the links below:
Dear animal friends
Last Sunday we were at the demonstration against the brutal torture and killing of a bull in Tordesillas, Spain. We were NOT allowed to enter the city. It was too dangerous and we were escorted on the “killing field” where Platanito will be murdered today.
Please write your feelings about this to the Town Hall of Tordesillas:
Su nombre = your name
Su direccion de correo-e = your email
Asunto = object
Mensaje = message
Also I am asking everybody to memorize this poor animal today with one minute of silence.
Thank you so much.
Protests grow over annual lancing of bull
Pursued across open countryside, jabbed at with spears and finally fatally stabbed by a man wielding a lance, a bull called Enrejado suffered a long, frightening and sadistic death in front of an eager crowd at Tordesillas, northern Spain.
Pictures of the wounded, blood-drenched animal being stabbed with the lance were published on the front page of El País, Spain’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, as it denounced the survival of this primitive, medieval spectacle.
Enrejado, a wide-horned, shiny black animal weighing 520kg, (82 st), took more than an hour to die during the annual festival, known as the Toro de la Vega.
The regional government of Castilla y León, run by the conservative People’s party, has formally declared the festival to be “of interest to tourists“.
Local people, however, shooed photographers and journalists away so they could not witness or capture the final moment of death, which the town hall later claimed had been completed with two deep thrusts of a lance. The right to finish off the animal after an hour of pursuit by men on horseback and on foot belonged to a horse-riding farmer from Salamanca, José Angel Gonzaléz.
Mr Gonzaléz had won the right by being the first man to land a lance on the animal as it fled across country. He was awarded the bull’s tail as trophy and ushered on to a balcony in the main square to be cheered by the crowd.
Mr Gonzaléz later declared himself honoured to have been allowed to perform the killing and promised to be back again next year.
The chase and killing of the bull in Tordesillas, a town of 8,400 people, is said to date back to the beginning of the 16th century.
“It has always been this way,” one local woman told El País. “If it seems so brutal to people, then why don’t they ban bullfighting completely?”
“Those who criticise it should come and watch,” said the People’s party mayor of Tordesillas, María del Milagro Zarzuelo.
That invitation, however, does not seem to be extended to journalists.
“They allow the bull to be traversed by spears but do not want critics to cast their eyes on it,” wrote El País journalist Carmen Morán. “This event gives off a powerful odour of poorly interpreted manliness.”
The El País report on Tordesillas came as Spain’s anti-bullfighting lobby becomes increasingly bold and vociferous.
Spanish animal rights activists had visited the mayor of Tordesillas before the most recent bull-baiting to protest at the cruelty of local traditions.
All she was able to tell them was that the town hall had made attempts in recent years to make the fiesta less barbaric. In previous years the bull’s testicles were cut off.
Protesters are regularly to be seen at the bull-runs that are held every July in Pamplona.
Barcelona city council declared itself to be against bull-fighting three years ago. It steered shy of a ban, however, and fights are still held in the city’s Monumental bull-ring.
Filed under: CAMPAIGNS - Global Animal Welfare Issues, GENERAL NEWS - International / National / Regional, GLOBAL PETITIONS - Anything Animal, Anywhere !, LETTERS, PHOTOGRAPHS - **WARNING** (Animal Suffering) | 5 Comments »