PAMPLONA, SPAIN - The San Fermín festival - with its infamous Running of the Bulls - has been canceled for the second year in a row because of the pandemic. Last year, PETA U.K. offered Pamplona Mayor Enrique Maya Miranda 250,000 euros if he would commit to permanently ending the cruel bull runs and subsequent bullfights in which bulls are tormented, stabbed, and then violently killed. Now, the group has sweetened the pot, offering the original quarter of a million euros plus €48,000 more - symbolizing the 48 bulls who would be spared a frightening stampede and grisly death at the festival each year. PETA U.K. has offered to place all the bulls at a sanctuary, something PETA affiliates do in India with bulls who are the victims of cruelty.
“People around the world, including in Spain, say that it’s past time the torment and slaughter of animals for human entertainment were stopped,” says PETA U.K. founder Ingrid Newkirk in her appeal to the mayor. “Now is the moment to be on the right side of history. We hope you will accept our offer and allow Pamplona to reinvent itself for the enjoyment of all.”
PETA notes that more than 100 Spanish towns and cities have declared themselves against bullfighting. But in Pamplona at the annual San Fermín festival, terrified bulls are forced to run along narrow streets on their way to a violent death in the bullring. Once the bulls are there, men stab each one with a lance and harpoon-like banderillas until he becomes weakened from blood loss. Then, the matador stabs the exhausted animal with a sword, and if he doesn’t die straight away, other weapons are used to cut his spinal cord.
PETA U.K. and Spanish group AnimaNaturalis have protested Pamplona’s annual bloodbath for two decades. The city’s former mayor Joseba Asirón supported the protests, describing them as “fair and honest.” Speaking to reporters about the groups’ calls to remove bull runs from the festival, he said, “[T]his is a debate that sooner or later we will have to put on the table. For a very simple reason, and that is that basing the festival on the suffering of a living being, in the 21st century, is something that, at best, we have to rethink."