PAMPLONA, Spain – Over one hundred protesters poured fake blood over themselves on Tuesday to demonstrate against the killing of bulls during the Sanfermines festival which is due to start Wednesday, July 6.
“Sanfermines can exist without bullfighting, we are not against the festival, only the cruelty, the torture and killing of innocent animals,” said Aida Gascon, Spanish director of animal rights organization AnimaNaturalis, which works in conjunction with PETA.
The festival features the traditional running of the bulls in which over 2000 runners sprint in front of herds of charging bulls, risking goring and trampling to make it to the bullring at the end.
This stage is followed by bullfights in which all the bulls are killed.
Speaking to reporters before the ceremony, Gascon said that in this, its fourteenth year, the organization has brought activists together from across Spain and around the world, including people from the United States, England and Germany.
At around midday in the City Hall Square, the protesters, who were semi-nude and wore fake bull horns, poured fake blood on themselves from buckets with signs that read: “Pamplona bathes in blood,” printed in Spanish, Basque, English, French, Russian and Italian.
According to the organization, the fake blood represented “the innocent blood that each bull will shed during the days of the festival.”
Gascon said “there are many people who don’t know that the bulls that run in the morning will be cruelly tortured and murdered.”
“This is something that must stop now, Spain is already taking steps to ban cruel festival traditions or at least to prevent public funding of bull fighting,” she added.
Sanfermines festival is held annually in Pamplona (north-eastern Spain) and starts on July 6.