Exposing the Biggest Cowards of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls

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5 min read

The Running of the Bulls at the annual Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain, is a horrific form of speciesism that must end. PETA Latino is exposing the matadors who will be taking part in the event this year from July 5 to 14 and urging supporters to take over the cowards’ social media accounts and reveal the cruelty of bullfighting and Pamplona’s annual bloodbath.

running of the bulls

During this vile event, more than 1 million spectators observe unconscionable abuse and killing. And it’s not just the bulls who suffer—between 50 and 100 human attendees sustain injuries each year, and 16 have died in the annual event since it began in 1910.

For Bulls’ Sake, Take Over Matadors’ Instagram Pages

PETA Latino encourages you to go to each matador’s Instagram page and help take it over with comments urging them to stop inflicting this fatal violence on bulls. Since the matadors post frequently and get a ton of engagement on social media during the bull runs, using their social media pages to protest against this abusive and deadly event is crucial—and an easy way to take action from anywhere. By speaking out against matadors’ gratuitous cruelty through comments on their own Instagram posts, advocates like you might show the world that these killers are cowards, not heroes, and that there’s nothing glamorous or entertaining about torturing and slaughtering bulls.

First, take a few moments to read about these bloody events and understand the extent to which matadors and other participants exploit and mutilate vulnerable bulls. Once you’re fired up and you’ve reached the end of this post, click on the individual matadors’ social media links to begin “blowing up” their accounts. Explain that there’s no excuse for animal abuse and that they have an opportunity to become true heroes and demonstrate real courage by refusing to torment or kill anyone.

bull on the ground bleeding and dying during bullfight

The Running of the Bulls’ Deadly Abuse

During the San Fermín festival, workers release six bulls (uncastrated males) and at least six steers (young neutered males) into the streets each day before corralling them into the arena. Over the course of a week, about 60 bulls are tormented and killed in the bullring as thousands of people applaud their violent deaths.

Each morning, workers launch a rocket to terrify the six bulls and six steers—who are naturally skittish—so that they’ll charge chaotically out of the Corrales de Santo Domingo and onto the narrow city streets lined with clamoring tourists, who frequently hit the animals as they pass. As the panicked bulls are chased toward the Plaza de Toros, they often smash into walls and injure themselves, even breaking bones.

Every evening, workers force the bulls one by one into the bullring. Each bull first faces the picadors, who are mounted on horses and jab him with a lance—thrusting it into his back and neck muscles, then twisting and driving it deeper to ensure significant blood loss.

running of the bulls

Next, banderilleros carrying barbed spears plunge their weapons into the bull’s back, causing intense pain. They make him run in circles until—dizzy, disoriented, exhausted, and weak from blood loss—he can no longer defend himself.

bull on the ground with barbed spears protruding from his neck during bullfight

Finally, the matador enters and attempts to kill the bull by stabbing him in the back with a long sword, aiming at his aorta or lungs.

matador stabbing bull in the back of the neck in Pamplona

If that doesn’t kill him, the matador uses other weapons, including daggers, to cut his spinal cord. Bulls are often left paralyzed but remain conscious as their ears and tails are cut off to be presented to the matador as “trophies.”

running of the bulls

As the bull draws his last breaths, a worker chains him by the horns and drags him from the arena.

running of the bulls

A Compassionate Campaign Against the Running of the Bulls

“Tradition” is no excuse for cruelty, and animals should never be used for entertainment. As more advocates and PETA Latino supporters speak up on matadors’ social media pages to help end Pamplona’s egregious bull abuse, the central participants must make the kind choice to end their participation in it.

close-up of dying bull on the ground with only his bleeding mouth, neck and horns showing

More than 125 Spanish provinces and cities have declared themselves against bullfighting, and three autonomous regions—the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and Catalonia—have banned the bloody spectacle. Opinion polls in countries that allow bullfighting show that the majority of residents oppose it. And thanks in part to tireless PETA Latino campaigns, the tide of revulsion continues to rise against bullfighting.

humans on the ground with signs and wearing horns to protest the Running of the Bulls

Like humans, bulls are living, feeling beings with personalities. They’re smart animals with excellent memories. They develop friendships over time and sometimes hold grudges against others who treat them badly.

White bull on a hill with desert plants

How YOU Can Help Bulls

Stand with PETA and use matadors’ own social media pages to call out those who are participating in this year’s atrocities in Pamplona:

  • Marcos Linares BLOCK_MULTI_2 BLOCK_MULTI_3
  • Christian Parejo BLOCK_MULTI_4 BLOCK_MULTI_5
  • Cristiano Torres BLOCK_MULTI_6 BLOCK_MULTI_7

Then demand that Pamplona’s mayor end the Running of the Bulls and bullfights during the San Fermín festival:

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