IN a move which should delight animal rights champions, the governing council of Castilla y Leon has approved a new law which will ban the slaughter of bulls at the annual Toro de la Vega festivities in Tordesillas, Valladolid Province.
The Toro de la Vega is a centuries-old tournament in which a bull is released through the town streets and chased by hundreds of runners and lancers on horseback, before being driven towards an open field where some of the horsemen attempt to spear it to death.
If the bull survives or escapes the official boundaries of the event it is ‘pardoned’, although this rarely happens, with the 2015 event a prime example as the bull ‘Rompesuelas’ was killed by a competitor who was later considered to have breached regulations.
Traditionally, the tournament winner would cut off the bull’s ‘attributes’, after which they would be displayed on the balcony of the town hall alongside the lance used in the carnage, although this practice was banned some years ago.
Accepted on Thursday May 19, the motion will not affect bullfighting or other such activities in the region, but it appears that no animals will be killed at the medieval knees-up following a slew of criticism and protests in recent years.
It will be inspected by the Castilla y Leon plenary in a few weeks, but is almost certain to pass into law.
The news was greeted positively in many quarters, but not by the organising committee of the festival, with Vice-president Ramon Muelas warning that the town would “fight” for one of its “most cherished traditions,” and declaring the lawmakers who have signed the decree to be personas non gratas in Tordesillas.