A bull is released and runs through the streets of the Spanish town of Tordesillas to kick off the controversial annual bull-lancing festival. This year, however a court has ruled that the bull may not be killed publicly, endiing a tradition that began in 1534. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Protesters claim victory in Spanish bull-lancing festival
ROUGH CUT – NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION
STORY: A bull was released on the streets of the town of Tordesillas in central Spain on Tuesday (September 13) to kick off of the annual and controversial bull-lancing festival, following a ruling that prohibited the killing of a bull as part of local annual celebrations.
The “Toro de la Vega” (Bull of the Plain) festival dates back to 1534 and traditionally involves hunters on horseback and on foot chasing a bull through a pine forest until it is brought down and killed using spears and lances.
However, Spanish authorities said in May that the festival could no longer culminate with the hunters slaying the bull. During the first festival since the ruling, the bull will be chased before then being led away to a slaughter house.
The bull was released and lead to the town’s plain where it was chased by men on horseback holding lances and teased by participants on foot.
The event, now renamed “Toro de la Peña” (Bull of the Rock) had become a symbol for opponents to bull-fighting, Spain’s traditional spectacle, which has suffered from the economic crisis as well as reduced subsidies from new left-wing administrations in many towns.
The decision to ban the killing of the animal, senior local government authorities said, was made in order to protect the event and avoid an outright ban of the traditional festival.
Spain’s centuries-old traditions involving the ritual slaying of specially bred bulls, at local festivals such as that in Tordesillas, or in bullfighting rings, are facing rising opposition by many who claim the celebrations are cruel.
An Ipsos Mori poll from January, carried out for animal welfare organization World Animal Protection, found that only 19 percent of adults in Spain supported bullfighting, while 58 percent opposed it.
Some regions have cracked down on bullfighting, where bullfighters with red capes and swords face off against the bulls, while the center-right People’s Party (PP) moved to protect the sport in 2013, declaring it a cultural asset.
While the northeastern region of Catalonia banned bullfighting outright in 2011, the week-long bull running festival in Pamplona, where participants are chased through the medieval streets by a dozen large bulls, continues to attract millions of tourists every year.