Debate over bulls gathers momentum

AS the mayor of Sueca becomes the latest to block bull-related activities in the town’s upcoming fiestas, the bull-running federation threatens to take the councils and regional government to court.

A toro emobolado in recent fiestas in Museros, Valencia, (PACMA)

Sueca’s socialist mayor, Dimas Vázquez, has refused permission for bull-related activities on 10 and 11 September, in a move which comes shortly after the mayor and councillors in Tavernes de la Valldigna took the same stance.

Bulls become a political issue.

Meanwhile, Valencia’s politicians have begun debating the subject; vicepresident of the Valencia government, Aitana Mas, of the left-wing nationalist Compromís party, spoke out on Tuesday, saying that “a debate should be started on bull-running.”

The socialist MP from Castellón, Sabina Escrig, told the Valencian parliament that “we must reflect” on the safety protocols, strengthen them, but insisted that the festivities were legal and that it was important for rules to be complied with.

Her counterpart in the right-wing PP (Popular Party), María José Català, agreed that safety was important, saying that simply banning events involving bulls wasn’t the solution. She went on to ask Mas and the Compromís party to openly say if what they want is to ban the festivities for a question of animal protection, but not to use the seven deaths this summer in bull-related fiestas as a shield.

Response from the federation

The Federation for groups of Bous al Carrer (Bullrunning) have said the proposals and initiatives being put forward by politicians have a political agenda, given the fact that there are municipal and regional elections coming up next spring.

In a statement, the federation said that politicians would have to face Valencian fans of bullrunning. Firstly, they stated, the right of access to culture, which undoubtedly includes bullfighting,, is enshrined in our Constitution and, therefore, Law 18/2013, which regulates bullfighting as Cultural Heritage of the Spanish people, imposes the defence, promotion and conservation of bullfighting in its various forms, including Bous al Carrer. Secondly, they state that neither city councils nor the autonomous regional governments have the power to prohibit or promote referendums or consultations to prevent the celebration of bullfighting festivities.

Thirdly, they say, that the elected representatives of the citizens and our administrations cannot ignore either the deep-rooted nature of the Bous al Carrer as a legally recognised and protected cultural manifestation or the fact that year after year the number of bullfights is increasing.

Demonstration in Madrid

The Animal rights party, PACMA, continues to publish videos of bulls being used in festivals, including the clip below showing a toro embolado, which is when a bull has fireworks or flames attached to their horns, in the fiestas in Museros, Valencia. Above the screams of the crowd, the bull can be heard to cry out in panic.

A national demonstration calling for the abolition of bullfighting in all its forms, is set to take place in Madrid on 24 September, while more locally, a demonstration is taking place in Jávea this Sunday (4 September) at 6pm in protest against the bous al mar, another cruel practice where the bulls are tormented and run into the sea.

3 thoughts

  1. Isn’t it that the mayor of Sueca – and in the Tavernes example too, I think – have refused to subsidise the events from the public purse ratherse than banning their Bous Al Carrer as such?


    1. That’s an interesting point and I think it’s both things.
      This article explains the history of it well. The peñas weren’t asking for subsidies this year and had planned for the events to be on private land, but the council still voted against them. Interestingly, back in 2016 a survey of the population showed people were against it.
      What is in question though, is whether local councils actually have that power or should it be the regional government. The hot potato they mention! Either way, watch this space….


      1. You’re quite right, it’s both elements – with voting according to wearily predictable left-right party lines.

        Liked by 1 person

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