6th December 2023
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Pamplona’s San Fermín bull running festival ends with 35 injured

Six men were injured on Friday during the eighth and final bull run of Spain’s famous San Fermín festival, bringing to 35 the total number of people wounded during this year’s fiesta.

Five men between the ages of 29 and 61 were taken to hospital to treat bruises of varying degrees of severity, the regional government of Navarra said in a statement.

A sixth man was treated in the infirmary of the northern city of Pamplona’s bullring for bruises he suffered during the run, the local branch of the Red Cross said in a tweet.

The bulls from the Miura ranch in the southwestern province of Seville completed the 849-metre course from a holding pen to the city bullring in two minutes and 21 seconds.

Each morning from 7-14 July, hundreds of daredevils, many wearing traditional white shirts with red scarves tied around their necks, tested their bravery by running ahead of a pack of bulls through the course set up in the narrow, winding streets of the medieval city.

The bulls face certain death in afternoon bullfights featuring Spain’s top matadors.

The San Fermín festival, which was made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, draws people from around the world.

Roughly a million spectators descended on the city of Pamplona for the weekly tradition that dates back to the early 14th century.

Protesters with PETA and the Spain-based non-profit ‘AnimaNaturalis’ took to the streets last week, before the official start of the event, wearing red robes and bull horns while holding signs with messages denouncing the killing and torturing of bulls during the event.

Activists have long protested the tradition – dozens covered themselves in fake blood before the Pamplona festival in 2016 and last year supporters wore dinosaur costumes to denounce bullfighting as ‘prehistoric’ – but the Spanish government has recognised the tradition as an ‘artistic discipline and cultural product’ since 2011.

PETA have said that ‘more than 125 Spanish towns and cities have rejected the torment and butchering of bulls for entertainment, but in Pamplona, this cruel spectacle continues’.

PETA previously offered Pamplona’s mayor €250,000 to cancel the running of the bulls – an offer that still stands, but which has so far been rejected.

Three men who took part in this year’s bull runs were gored, including a 58-year-old from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. Six Americans and a British and French national were among the other foreigners injured this year.

Although the runs are over, the festival’s closing ceremony will take place later at midnight on Friday.

Sixteen people have been killed in the bull runs since records started in 1911. The last death was in 2009 when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.

ALSO READ: Opinion: why bullfights should stay cancelled after Covid-19.

ALSO READ: Animal rights NGO starts petition against possible state aid for cancelled bullfights

Photo by Daniel Fernandez / EFE, via La Vanguardia (see below).

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