BOUS al carrer, bous a la mar and bous embolats draw crowds in Marina Alta town and village fiestas.
Young, middle-aged and old men will try a pass or two at a galloping bull, cow or heifer in the street. They and the bulls may take to the water at the local harbour during the Denia or Javea fiestas. At night others might try their luck at sidestepping a bull with flaming brands fixed to its horns.
So far this year five people have lost their lives while running with bulls or dodging them in the Valencia Region. Elsewhere in Spain, the political Left is vocally opposed to blood sports – but not in the Valencian Community.
All parties know that opposing bull-running fiestas is tantamount to throwing votes away. “It’s tradition, it’s essential to our fiestas,” said Denia Fiestas’ councillor Eva Ronda from the Compromis party. “This isn’t the Toro de la Vega, there is no cruelty,” she added in a reference to the fiesta near Valladolid where a bull is speared to death. Lliber’s socialist deputy mayor agreed: “We’re going to keep up the traditions, there’s no question. We have other more pressing matters to attend to first,” he said.