Police are investigating and animal rights group are outraged after residents in a small town in central Spain rammed a bull to death with their vehicles after it had escaped from a bullring.
The incident took place in the early hours of Sunday in the town of Brihuega, near Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha), during an annual fiesta in which participants had gathered in the local bullring to take turns to jump, twirl and dodge around a bull, known as a concurso de recortadores.
A half-tonne fighting bull named Campanito, the final bull of the evening, charged through the ring’s gates and out of the arena, injuring two men aged 73 and 64 on its way through the streets.
The bull was then reportedly rammed to death by a vehicle.
Video from the incident, as reported by TeleMadrid, showed dozens of people running after the bull after it pushed its way through a first set of gates, before it then managed to escape out into the narrow streets.
‘The bull is heading out to the street,’ a voice can be heard saying in the video, as people, including organisers of the event, began pursuing the bull.
Another clip filmed from a balcony [see video below – warning: some moments are graphic] shows the bull running in the street, slowing to canter before a vehicle accelerates up from behind it and rams it.
‘They hit the bull until it died,’ an unnamed resident was quoted as saying by El Diario.es.
On Monday Spain’s Guardia Civil said it had identified the driver of the first vehicle and that it was working to clarify exactly what had happened, according to The Guardian. There have reportedly been no arrests, nobody has been charged, yet the investigation remains open.
The events in Brihuega provoked a strong reaction among animal rights campaigners across Spain. AnimaNaturalis said it would seek court action over what it alleged as animal abuse.
‘We will not let this case go unpunished,’ Aïda Gascón of the organisation said in a statement. ‘Campanito was only guilty of what we would all do in his place,’ she added, referring to the fleeing of the bull from the bullring. Warning: video footage in the Tweet from AnimaNaturalis below is also graphic:
The Guadalajara Bullfighting Federation, however, praised the actions of residents. ‘This rapid intervention prevented the animal from reaching other areas of the village where the tragedy could have been worse,’ it said in a statement.
As also reported by The Guardian, the federation said that ‘in an extreme occasion when the population is in danger, it becomes necessary to take certain actions to avoid catastrophe’.