PROTESTORS clashed with police and supporters during a festival in Soria that involves a young bull having burning wooden stakes strapped to its horns.
There were ugly scenes as animal rights activists boycotting the Joy of the Bull festival chained themselves to a wooden post in the middle of a makeshift bullring and had to be removed by police. There were further clashes with supporters of the festival that has been described in the past as a “sadistic festival” by animal rights group PETA.
The annual festival held in the village of Medinaceli is described as one of the “cultural highlights” of the year in the region, but activists are demanding a halt to the event. The Joy of the Bull – Toro de Jubilo in Spanish – sees a bull have lighted wooden stakes strapped to its horns before being let loose in the bull ring. The bull is caked in mud to prevent burns, but the use of paraffin and tar to light the stakes means that drops of fire fall onto the bull as it runs around the ring in terror. Revellers then jump into the ring and taunt the bull with capes.
Following the display, the bull is then dragged out of the ring by villagers and butchered. Participants in the festival are awarded pieces of the meat for their bravery during the festivities.
Allegedly dating back to the Bronze Age, the Joy of the Bull festival has been described by the Animalist Party Against Mistreatment to Animals (PACMA) as “a clear example of animal mistreatment”. A number of activists were arrested during the protest at this year’s festival.