AN animal rights activist has started a petition in a bid to persuade the Spanish authorities to halt Denia’s Bous a la Mar festival in which a bull is run into the sea.
Zoe Gumm believes the practice, where the bull is taunted into chasing spectators before running into the sea, is cruel and should be stopped.
“No animal deserves to be mistreated in the name of tradition. It begins with the bulls running down the main street but this isn’t normal behaviour and it’s only through fear that they run.
“In previous years bulls have suffered broken bones, heart attacks and even drowned. They get kicked, pulled down in the water and then dragged out with a rope. It’s not acceptable in this day and age.”
Ms Gumm is hoping the Spanish civic authorities will agree to an animal-friendly and child-friendly alternative and believes her option for the traditional event would benefit and not deprive the town of tourist income.
“I think Denia will benefit greatly. There is a huge wave of animal awareness taking place at the moment. More people are protesting against events that use animals.”
Her version, which takes place in Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, involves men in outsized inflatable bull suits running along the streets as children and parents run away.
Ms Gumm cites Valencia’s recent ban on setting light to the horns of bulls and a cut in the province’s funding for bull runs and bull fighting schools as evidence of a general shift away from such events.
She is hoping to meet the town’s mayor in a bid to persuade the civic authorities to halt the traditional July festival.
Her petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/replace-the-bulls-with-people-in-fun-inflatable-costumes