WATCH: Topless animal rights activists stage protest ahead of Pamplona’s running of the bulls fiesta

Activists from animal rights group PETA staged a protest ahead of Pamplona's famous running of the bulls - taking particular aim at foreign revellers.

WATCH: Topless animal rights activists stage protest ahead of Pamplona’s running of the bulls fiesta
Photo: Ander Gillenea / AFP.

Dozens of supporters of the groups People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Anima Naturalis took to the streets of Pamplona on Friday to protest against bullfighting and bull-running in the northern Spanish city.

Wearing nothing but black underpants, and in some cases, bull horns, the protestors lay down in dozens of silhouettes of bulls, representing the “crime scene” of the number of animals that will be killed during the 8-day fiesta.

Animal rights’ groups traditionally stage a protest in front of Pamplona’s town hall on July 5thm a day before the city explodes into revelry at noon on July 6.

“Young bulls who have had very little contact with humans are transported to Pamplona on a long and stressful journey,” Peta wrote in a petition calling for the spectacle to be banned.

“The festival organisers confine them to a small pen for several days. Then, they release them into a noisy, chaotic mob of people – mostly tourists – who chase the terrified animals through the narrow streets of the city. The bulls often crash into walls or lose their footing, sometimes breaking bones,” it continued.

“And that's not the end of it. Later that day, they'll be tormented to death in the bullring.

“At least 48 bulls will be barbarically stabbed to death during the festival. The mayor of Pamplona needs to stop this bloodbath,” it said, urging people to sign the petition.


Photo: Ander Gillenea / AFP.

Pamplona's annual San Fermín festival has become a symbol of Spanish culture, attracting thousands of tourists each year to watch the running of the bulls.

The week-long festivities kick off on Saturday with the chupinazo – a rocket launch at the city hall. The rest of the days are filled with early morning bull runs as people dressed in the traditional white and red outfits run for their lives from a herd of bulls into a stadium.

Bullfights are then held later in the day.

PETA has also in previous years protested the centuries-old tradition, made prominent outside Spain by Ernest Hemingway's book The Sun Also Rises.

Spain's tradition bearers have long locked horns with animal-rights activists, who have called for bans on the practice of bullfighting.

Catalonia banned bullfighting events in 2011 after the Canary Islands became the first region to pass a ban in 1991.

Pro-bullfighting groups have fought back against restrictions by getting the tradition protected under Unesco's cultural heritage list

But they are on the decline. In 2008, 810 bullfights took place across Spain. Ten years later, there were only 369, according to the culture ministry.

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‘Gratuitous cruelty’: Spain probes suspected abuse at animal testing lab

Spanish police and prosecutors said Monday they were investigating an animal testing lab after undercover footage showed staff there tossing around, smacking and taunting dogs, pigs and other animals.

'Gratuitous cruelty': Spain probes suspected abuse at animal testing lab
Handout: Cruelty Free International

“We were dismayed to see the images,” the head of the government’s directorate-general for animal protection, Sergio Garcia Torres, told AFP.

“It is a blatant case of animal abuse.”

Footage published Thursday by Cruelty Free International shows appears to show animals at the Vivotecnia animal testing facility being cut into apparently without having received anaesthetics.

Staff were also filmed swinging dogs and rats around and in one clip someone is drawing a face on a monkey’s genitals as the animal is pinned to a table.

The group said the footage was taken by a whistleblower who worked at the facility, which is on the outskirts of Madrid, between 2018 and 2020.

“There can be no doubt that such gratuitous cruelty causes unnecessary distress and suffering,” the animal rights group said in a statement.

“It is also unlawful.”

Police and public prosecutors said Monday they had opened separate investigations into Vivotecnia, which carries out experiments on animals for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

The company’s phone number was no longer working on Monday and its web site was down for maintenance.

In a statement cited by Spanish media, Vivotecnia chief executive Andres Konig said he was “shocked” at the images. But, he added, they did not “demonstrate the day-to-day reality at Vivotecnia”.

Following the outcry caused by the release of the footage, the Madrid regional government on Sunday temporarily halted activity at the animal testing facility.

Animal rights political party PACMA has filed a lawsuit against the managers of the company and urged the government to step up its supervision of animal testing.

“It’s a very opaque world and it could be that this is happening regularly without us knowing,” PACMA president Laura Duarte told AFP.

The Vivotecnia laboratory animals were examined by veterinarians and are being moved to other facilities.