Canceled: Dangerous and Illegal California Great Bull Run

L.A. County Fire Department Refuses to Grant Permit; Advocates Warn of Ongoing Injuries, Cruelty During ‘Extreme Sporting’ Events

For Immediate Release:
July 31, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

Today, the national nonprofits PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) are delighted to announce the cancelation of a Great Bull Run event scheduled for this fall in Southern California because of the company’s inability to obtain the necessary permits. The Los Angeles County Fire Department refused to grant a permit for the event, citing violations of public safety standards. This marks the third time that the Great Bull Run has failed to secure necessary permits for its planned Southern California event. Bull runs were previously scheduled in Lake Elsinore and Temecula in Riverside County, but local officials refused to issue permits, out of concern for public health and safety. On July 26, a Great Bull Run event went ahead as scheduled among protests at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Northern California. One runner was hospitalized with a concussion and bruises after he had been trampled.

In March, PETA and ALDF filed a lawsuit against the Great Bull Run and the Lone Star Rodeo Company in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit aims to end bull runs in California and is the first case that has been filed to stop these events, which have provoked a widespread outcry across the United States. According to the lawsuit, these events violate California’s anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law.

During the Great Bull Run events, organizers send as many as three dozen panicked bulls, weighing nearly one ton each, barreling down a narrow track at up to 35 miles per hour, chasing fleeing runners—many of whom have been drinking alcohol. Veterinary experts have concluded that the event also causes unnecessary suffering and stress to the animals. “As a bovine veterinarian, I can confirm that this event is extremely stressful for the bulls and presents substantial risk of injury to them, as well as an enormous public safety risk to the humans participating,” said Dr. Holly Cheever, veterinarian and vice president of the New York State Humane Association. The California Penal Code makes it unlawful to cause any bull to fight with a human or to subject any animal to needless suffering, which bull runs do. California also bans the promotion and exhibition of bulls in “bloodless bullfights” and similar events, such as the Great Bull Run.

“PETA’s motto reads, in part, ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ and the Great Bull Run—in which bulls are needlessly terrorized for ‘fun’—shows why,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Authorities across the country should follow the lead of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and turn this cruel event away at the county line.”

“We applaud the Los Angeles County Fire Department for its protection of public health and safety by rejecting permits for this dangerous and ridiculous spectacle,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Traumatized animals, hospitalized runners, and violations of public safety make this event a disgrace for any jurisdiction.”

ALDF and PETA are represented by in-house counsel and the law firm Evans & Page.

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