sports

Why you must absolutely cross this off your Europe bucket list.

It’s difficult for me to pinpoint what I initially felt when I saw the below images.

Shock? Disgust? Nausea? I guess it was probably a churning mixture of all three. It’s hard not to feel those things, when confronted with that much blood – deep red blood, crimson blood – spreading thick and fast across the floor. Lifeless feet haphazardly hoisted in the air. Heads and necks twisted, contorted and pulled out of place. Limp bodies. Broken bodies. Dead bodies. Everywhere.

I guess the juxtaposition of those images – all of that death and pain – with how we typically think of the ‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona, Spain, is what startled me most. It’s the event that lives on pretty much every Euro traveller’s bucket list. It’s spruiked by marketing companies as “the run of your life”. There are uniform shops who profit from selling the prescribed all-white uniform and the accompanying bright red scarf. It’s described by tour groups as “exhilarating” and “incredible” – because this is just a colourful, ancient tradition, right? … Right?

Click through to see some of the destruction and cruelty caused by The Running of the Bulls. (Post continues after gallery…)

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If you’re not already familiar with the tourist attraction, the Running of the Bulls involves a group of toro bulls, typically six at a time, being let loose on sectioned-off streets of Pamplona.

Before they run, the bulls will be tormented with electric prods and sharp sticks and will have their flesh jabbed with tranquillisers. As they slip and slide along the narrow cobblestone streets, they will be goaded by hundreds of eager travellers, just before they reach their final, most gruesome destination: the bullring.

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Once there, more than a dozen people will come at them from all angles – each wielding daggers and torture tools – to ensure that the bull’s limbs are heavy with exhaustion and rife with pain. Then, after 15 minutes, the matadors will take over; they will stab the animal repeatedly with a sword until it is no more than a bloodied, lifeless carcass.

And this happens while thousands of tourists will clap and cheer every act of brutality from the periphery.

Yesterday, Spanish matador Victor Barrio was gored to death in the ring with a bull. He was the first man to die in a bull ring this century, and his death was met with adequate shock and horror. But the horror and bloodshed of bullfighting isn’t new, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In the past, where humans have had “lucky escapers”, it’s the bulls who have paid with their lives.

It’s for this reason that 76 per cent of Spaniards do not approve of bullfighting. The event has been banned in the nearby city of Catalonia, and more than 100 Spanish cities and towns have declared their opposition to the barbarism.

Watch what happens to innocent bulls during the event below. (Warning: Graphic imagery. Post continues after video…)

Video via PETA

Because this isn’t just a spectacle. It’s a breathless display of animal cruelty, in its most savagely cruel form.

How can we be surprised when a man is killed in this barbaric practice, when it’s us – the tourists, the matadors, the locals who profit from the sport – who torture these animals and turn them against us?

That’s the message PETA is trying to tell us. Take the Running of The Bulls “event” off your bucket list, take visiting a bullfight off your list and tell your jetsetting friends to do the same.

For more, visit the PETA website here.

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