The Running of the Bulls has kicked off in Pamplona, Spain as part of the festival of San Fermín. Every year, brave individuals run through the city’s narrow streets in front of six powerful bulls. This event attracts many tourists, but it is also quite controversial.
The tradition is believed to have started long ago when apprentice butchers helped bring the bulls into the city. The young men ran in front of the animals to guide them, and over time, the public joined in. Today, it has become a famous spectacle that draws visitors from around the world.
The bull running takes place from July 6th to 14th, with eight runs in total. Each morning at 8 am, six fighting bulls and six tame oxen charge along the 875-meter course. It all culminates in the bullring, where bullfights with matadors are held.
The course lasts only a couple of minutes, but it can be intense and chaotic. Runners are advised to run fast in front of the bulls and move to the side when the animals get close. It’s an exhilarating experience for those brave enough to participate.
The event is open to anyone over 18 years old, but there are strict rules against consuming alcohol beforehand. Around 2,000 people usually take part, while many more watch from the safety of balconies along the route.
Although safety measures are in place, including double barriers and warning signals, the event carries risks. People can get hurt if they fall or if the bulls trample them with their horns. Sadly, since 1911, sixteen individuals have lost their lives in the bull runs.
The Running of the Bulls has faced criticism from animal rights organizations like Peta and AnimalNaturalis. They argue that the event is cruel to the animals, as they are later killed in bullfights. These groups have campaigned for the end of the tradition, suggesting that a new, animal-friendly celebration should be created.
While the Running of the Bulls remains a thrilling spectacle for some, its controversy highlights the ongoing debate about the treatment of animals in such events.