Undercover footage taken by animal rights activists has revealed how bulls are held down and set on fire during a festival in Spain.
The shocking scene was caught on camera by Spanish NGO AnimaNaturalis and animal rights group CAS International during an undercover investigation into the annual Toro Jubilo festival, which takes place on the second weekend of every November in Medinaceli, north-east of Madrid.
Filming and photography is strictly banned at the event, but activists managed to record a video to draw attention to the horrific practises taking place.
Warning: Distressing Content:
The video, shared on Twitter, showed a distressed bull tethered to a post with a number of men surrounding it. The group then set fire to a pair of imitation ‘horns’ made of straw, which were fastened to the bull’s head using ropes, wires and rough wood.
The powerful creature was covered in mud in an attempt to prevent it from getting burned before being released into a makeshift ring set up for the event in the town square, where around 1,500 spectators had gathered to watch the cruel event.
Onlookers fled from the distressed bull as it began running around the ring and the animal could be seen ducking towards the ground as it ran, seemingly in an attempt to extinguish the blaze burning above its head.
⚠️ Nuestro equipo logró infiltrarse ayer en el Toro Jubilo de Medinaceli.
Tudelano, marcado con el número 31 en los costillares, cayó rendido en repetidas ocasiones, de puro agotamiento.
— AnimaNaturalis (@AnimaNaturalis) November 17, 2019
A spokesperson for CAS International pointed out although bull festivals are ‘popular’ in Spain, they are a form of ‘cruelty and violence’.
During the local festivities in Spain, bulls are immobilised, tied up and pulled with ropes, assaulted, forced to run, thrown into the sea and lit up with torches attached to their horns.
The animals fall, bleed, are under extreme distress and sometimes death.
The most cruel form of celebration is when the balls impregnated with a flammable substance are attached to their horns and lit up on fire so the bulls run desperately.
The spokesperson continued:
Having fun at the expense of the bulls puts their lives at risk. Deaths from brutal blows, heart attacks, eye burns, anguish and fear of fire.
In addition to carrying physical and psychological injuries, a large number of these animals are sent directly to the slaughterhouse on that same night.
Please sign our petition to end the cruel blood fiestas in Spain! CAS International and AnimaNaturalis started a campaign to stop the cruel blood fiestas in Spain: https://t.co/7WrVe2X3Zd pic.twitter.com/vFjcT7H2TY
— CAS International (@CAS_Int) November 7, 2019
The investigation revealed approximately 2,500 bulls are flushed with fire every year in a large number of Spanish municipalities, concentrated in the provinces from Castellón, Alicante, Valencia, Teruel and Zaragoza.
Aïda Gascón, director of AnimaNaturalis, commented:
We want to bring to light the systematic abuse that thousands of villages hide at their parties and uncover the enormous funding they receive from the municipalities.
Animal rights campaign groups have been trying to get the Toro Jubilo festival banned, but Spanish authorities have designated it a cultural event, meaning it has special status is therefore allowed to continue.
You can sign a petition to end the cruel event here.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.