More than 3,000 Spanish festivals involve animal cruelty, says report

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
More than 3,000 Spanish festivals involve animal cruelty, says report
The bull Rompseuelas was spreared to death in Tordesillas. Photo: Cesar Manso / AFP

Spain celebrates an estimated 3,000 fiestas that involve cruelty and mistreatment of animals, a new report by an animal welfare group claims.


The Observatorio Justicia y Defensa Animal, an animal welfare organization, published the report with calls that the government introduce nationwide laws banning animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment.

The report claims that around 3,000 individual fiestas take place across Spain which violate animal protection laws, causing suffering and in some cases death to more than 60,000 animals.

The organization claims that although the majority are taurine-related festivals affecting bulls, cows and calves, multiple other ‘celebrations’ cause harm to animals including ducks, horses, donkeys and even pigs.

"The truth is that today across Spain we continue to tolerate popular festivals and celebrations which take place for no other reason than to perpetuate cruel and ignoble actions to other living creatures and to torture animals under the watchful eye of children," said the report.

The organization said many festivals could be enjoyed and the traditions observed without the need for "mistreating and killing animals".

Today more than ever: "A state law is needed to expressly prohibit the use of animals in village fiestas"

The report coincided with the celebration of one of Spain’s most controversial and brutal traditions. On Tuesday dozens of villagers on horseback chased down and speared to death a bull during the annual fiesta in Tordesillas near Valladolid in the Castilla y Leon region.

One of Spain’s most polemic fiestas, the Toro de la Vega was marked this year by scuffles between the hundreds of animal rights activists who turned out to protest the tradition, and the supporters of it.

This year the bull chosen to take part was the 640kg Rompesuelas - meaning Groundbreaker - who set off through the streets and towards the woods at the outskirts of the town pursued by lancers, who compete to kill it.

This year however, the man initially credited as the winner for killing the bull was then stripped of the title after judges found that three violations had taken place.

The judges found three violations of the spearing event's rules: The bull was killed by more than one person, it was speared from behind and it died outside the designated area where it was supposed to be killed.

The more than four-centuries old tradition has also drawn criticism from the country’s Socialist opposition, with leader Pedro Sanchez promising to ban the event if he wins Spain’s upcoming general election.

This year has proved one of the bloodiest when it comes to bullrunning fiestas with 13 men fatally gored at festivals over the summer.

READ: Ricky Gervais sides with bulls over fatal gorings


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