Wave of bull runner deaths turns focus on Spain’s fiestas

Sep 1, 2022, 1:13 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2022, 1:14 am
A bull chases a reveler during a running of the bull festival in the village of Atanzon, central Sp...

A bull chases a reveler during a running of the bull festival in the village of Atanzon, central Spain, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. The deaths of eight people and the injury of hundreds more after being gored by bulls or calves have put Spain's immensely popular town summer festivals under scrutiny by politicians and animal rights groups. There were no fatalities or injuries in Atanzon. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) — The shrieks of fear-infused excitement as bulls charge through the streets of many Spanish towns during wildly popular summer festivals echo in sharp contrast to the number of people who have died after being gored this year.

Bull runs may be a beloved spectacle for locals and visitors in thousands of summer festivals across Spain, but this year’s macabre, record-tying toll of eight deaths has politicians and animal rights defenders heaping much criticism on the practice.

There were no fatalities or injuries in Atanzón when revelers on foot and on horseback recently ran with the rampaging animal. But last week in Alalpardo, less than an hour’s drive away, a steer fatally gored a 60-year-old man.

A week earlier a 73-year-old French woman who was a regular in bull events died in the eastern town of Beniarbeig after being gored in the chest. Six men were fatally gored in other Valencia festivals and more than 380 participants have been injured. The season doesn’t end until November.

Despite the concern, authorities appear at a loss as to what additional safety measures they can take.

“Some people have lost any fear of the bull,” says regional emergency chief José María Angel. He urges revelers to be more cautious — the primary recommendation to come out a safety review meeting.

Valencia regional government Deputy President Aitana Mas has left the door open to debate whether to prohibit these kinds of fiestas, saying that the current legislation is “not enough.”

Only a few villages have canceled such festivals. Tavernes de la Valldigna is one that has, and sees it as a matter of staying in step with its policy of defending animal rights.

“I hope our decision brings further into the streets the debate and leads to the end of this tradition,” Mayor Sergi González told The Associated Press, even as he acknowledged the tradition’s deep cultural roots.

While the public debate in Spain has largely focused on the loss of human lives, activists are demanding a total ban on events where animals are used for entertainment.

Animal rights groups are particularly opposed to events they say are deliberately more cruel to the animals, such as when cotton balls are lit on the horns of bulls or when the animal is forced into the sea and is then brought back to shore.

Events known in the Valencian dialect as “Bous al carrer,” (Bulls on the street) involve bulls or calves released into the streets to waiting crowds who try to provoke them into charging.

Alejandro Cano, President of Defense of Bous al Carrer Associations doesn’t see cause any for alarm, telling the AP that the casualties are “part of the festival.”

Some bulls are fought and killed by matadors but most return to their farms.

According to the Culture Ministry, some 2,700 such spectacles were held last year. The amount was reduced compared to a regular season due to some pandemic restrictions still in place. In 2019, there were 17,000. This year around 9,000 are expected to take place until the end of November.

Pamplona’s San Fermin running of the bulls, immortalized by Literature Nobel Prize winner and novelist Ernest Hemingway, is the prime event but there has not been a death there in 13 years. Safety measures, public investment and the professionalism of the runners are unmatched in any other smaller Spanish festival.

Atanzón will continue celebrating its patron saint, San Agustín, in the same fashion as Pamplona does — praying to the saint that no one is killed by the bulls for another summer.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

1 shot, officer injured in Chicago police facility incident

CHICAGO (AP) — One person was shot and a Chicago police officer was wounded Monday during an incident inside a police facility on the city’s West Side, officials said. Shots were fired shortly before noon at the building in Homan Square, police spokesman Tom Ahern told WGN-TV. The officer was taken to Sinai Hospital in […]
1 day ago
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi speaks to reporters during a news conference in Athens on ...
Associated Press

Greece: EU using Med countries like a refugee ‘parking lot’

ATHENS (AP) — Greece on Monday urged the European Union to lift movement restrictions for refugees recognized by individual nations, accusing the bloc of applying a double standard when dealing with Ukrainians fleeing the war compared with the victims of other conflicts. Notis Mitarachi, Greece’s migration affairs minister, said a “lack of solidarity” was holding […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

White House announces Dec. 1 state visit for France’s Macron

WASHINGTON (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Washington in early December for the first state visit of President Joe Biden’s tenure, an occasion marked by pomp and pageantry that is designed to celebrate relations between the United States and its closest allies. The Dec. 1 visit will be the second U.S. state […]
1 day ago
Colombia's President Gustavo Petro, left, and Venezuela's Transportation Minister Ramon Araguayan s...
Associated Press

Cargo traffic movement resumes between Colombia, Venezuela

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Trucks loaded with aluminum and medications crossed a bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela for the first time in seven years Monday following restoration of diplomatic relations, giving regional businesses hope for growing trade. Colombia’s new leftist President Gustavo Petro, who took office in August and quickly moved to reestablish ties with […]
1 day ago
President Joe Biden holds up a jersey during an event celebrating the 2021 World Series champion At...
Associated Press

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Monday the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration. Biden called the series an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House […]
1 day ago
FILE - This December, 2020, shows Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Mo.  The speaker of the Missou...
Associated Press

Missouri House speaker urges feds to shut down Agape school

The speaker of the Missouri House is urging the U.S. attorney in Kansas City to shut down Agape Boarding School, accusing the Christian school of “what amounts to organized crime against children.” Republican House Speaker Rob Vescovo sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore that was made available to reporters on Monday. In […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Wave of bull runner deaths turns focus on Spain’s fiestas