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Popular festivities

Each year, more than 16,000 festivals are organized in Spain in which animals are used.

In honour of the Virgin and the Saints - and with the blessing of the religious and civil authorities - entire populations, including children, participate in celebrations of unprecedented cruelty. 60,000 animals or so are abused each year during the “Festival of Blood”.

The Vega Bull. Tordesillas

On the second Tuesday of September, a peculiar tribute to the Virgen de la Peña takes place in Tordesillas, Valladolid, which is one of the greatest brutalities of Spain: "El Toro de la Vega".

toro de vega


The celebration consists of setting a bull free in the town, which is harassed by hundreds of people pursuing it to a field, either on foot or on horseback. They throw long spears finished in sharp leaves of 33 cm. in length, which is stuck in its body, and sometimes they pass through. This torture can last up to an hour, until the bull - exhausted, destroyed, and bled to death from wounds - collapses. At this moment the animal is stabbed in the neck, and the testicles and the tail are cut off and displayed as a trophy by the town's people, fixed in the proud matarife's spear. Often, the bull has not died yet when the tail and ears are cut.

The physical and psychological torment these animals suffer has been reported numerous times by several organizations for the defence of animals. Unfortunately, nothing has changed despite the promises of the City Council of Tordesillas. The Council argues that the spectacle is regulated, but whatever regulations they have do not include kill the animal earlier to minimize its suffering, or using motor vehicles.

Fire Bulls

The "Fire Bull" or "Embolado Bull" spectacle consists of setting fire to a few torches that are placed on the horns of the bulls and spread with balls of tar, then setting them loose in a plaza or on the streets. This practice is carried out in places like Medinacelli (Soria), Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz), or locations as Amposta, Tarragona, Valencia, and Ontinyent. Frequently, the bulls' eyes are burned by the sparks.

correbous toro fuego

For the bulls of fire ("embolats" in Catalonia), a few metal things with up to 5 balls of flammable material are tied to the head of the animals. These are ignited before releasing the animal.

 To place this "machine of torture" on the bulls, they first must immobilize the animal by tying its horns, pulling it from the tail, and holding its legs forcibly.

The animal, because of the panic it feels to have wrapped fire on its head, is shaking its head in an attempt to get rid of the fireballs. The ball of fire falls in streams of hot liquid and coals that dot around their eyes and nose and burning his body. The desperate bellows, shaking head, and drooling of these animals show unimaginable stress and suffering.

In the Terres de l'Ebre (Catalonia) sometimes fireworks are placed on the animal's horns.

In Medinacelli, Soria (Castilla-León), is perhaps the cruelest of all these spectacles. The animal is struck with spears so hard and violently, they bleed from the mouth and nose as a result of internal damage.

These cruel spectacles are also carried out in Aragon (especially in Zaragoza and Teruel) and in the Valencian Community, where approximately 1,200 bulls and cows a year suffer this martyrdom. The Basque country, Castilla-la-Mancha, Andalusia and other communities such as Madrid have prohibited the 'Bulls of Fire' and some them have been replaced by frames carried by people.

Ensogados bulls

The "enmaromado bull" consists in tying the bull by the horns with a rope and dragging it through the streets to a place where they fall into the sea. This event is usually held in Benavente (Zamora) and in various locations in Tarragona such as Cases D'alcanar. In Jaraiz of the Vera (Cáceres) the event ends with killing the animal with machetes.

toro ensogado

The "ensogados" ("capllaçats" in Catalonia) bulls are tied with ropes to the horns of the animal, which are then violently walked through the crowded streets.

Because of these ropes and the strong resistance of the animal, the bulls suffer serious injuries at the base of their horns and the muscles of the neck. Evidence of the tremendous stress and suffering these animals experience is seen/heard in their bellows, shaking head, and drooling.

Ensogado bulls or cows are also seen in the Terres de l'Ebre (Catalonia), Aragon, Castilla-Leon, La Rioja, Navarre, Andalusia, Castilla-la-Mancha, the Basque country and Valencia.

The city of Madrid, however, has banned this cruel spectacle.

The Coria Bull

Each year, in the festival of San Juan in the town of Coria (Cáceres), the bull is run in a particularly cruel manner in the enclosure of the old walled town until they are enclosed in a ring for bullfighting.

Dozens of people throw darts at the bull, with blowguns, for hours. Sharp darts, decorated with paper, are stuck all over the body of the animal, including its nose and eyes.

The bulls of Coria, in reference to the pads where tailors stick their pins, because at the end of spectacle the animal is covered with hundreds of darts. Upon entering the plaza, the bull suffers a dramatic entrance: In the door a few young men wait for him, with a few pins decorated with very colourful ribbons, for sticking in the nose to the Bull. This is known as "the frights". Then other young men continue to inflict the same suffering until, after about two hours, when the dying animal can not resist anymore, they shoot the bull and cut off its testicles.


Other popular with bullfighting spectacles

Many other barbarities are carried out in Spain which involves the general public. These include the running of the bulls, the heifers, Bulls of Ohanes, capeas, the Bull of brandy, probadillas, cuts, extractions, etc.

In "Bulls to the Sea", the animals are pursued and cornered until it falls into the sea. Sometimes the animal dies by drowning. This is done in Denia (Alicante), in Beas de Segura (Jaén) and various locations in Tarragona and Valencia such as Moncada. The bulls are chased until that they slip and fall into the sea or desperately jump into the sea.

The "enclosures" by the streets can be made with bulls, cows or heifers. Some running of the bulls end up in a place where the animals are heaved or goaded. These are held, among many other places, in El Viso (Córdoba), Paterna (Valencia), Pamplona (Navarra) and Benicarló and Campo Real (Madrid), several areas of Castellón and in Tarragona. As the bulls walk or run through the streets, they often suffer harassment and beating from the participants. Wounds and fractures occur when the bulls hit objects in their path or slip on the asphalt. Sometimes the bulls die of exhaustion, or else from heart attacks caused by stress.

The fights with young bulls consist of removing to the rotation to several very young animals so that the public amuses itself by hitting them, pulling their tails, jumping over them, and even nailing banderillas and swords until they are killed.

The harassment and humiliation that these animals endure, solely for the amusement of people ignorant of their suffering, has no logical justification.

Popular spectacles with other animals

"Ducks to water" consists of releasing ducks in the port, and residents jump into the water to capture them by any means necessary. This is celebrated in L'Escala (Girona) and in Sagunto (Valencia).

For the "oily pigs", oil is applied to the pigs, and then the animals are set loose so that the participants can capture them. For the pigs, this results in extremely rough treatment. This spectacle is held in Humilladero (Málaga) and other towns in Galicia and Andalusia.

In the Canary Islands, cockfighting is still legal, and it is allowed in other communities under certain regulations.

In Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya, fights between rams are watched by spectators. The animals end up exhausted and his head bloodstained by the injuries caused by the other ram's horns.

Of Villanueva of the Side (Cáceres) the “celebration” of the Donkey of But Wood consists of dragging a donkey through the streets where thousands of people touch, hit, and harass it. The animal usually falls to the ground in numerous occasions, completed exhausted.

In Vilanova d'alcolea (Castellón), horses are placed on the flames of bonfires.


In Mallorca, in the town of Pollença they put a rooster in a box and hang it on a tree… and in the Festival of Sant Joan Pelós, and in the celebration of Sant Joan Hairs, a lamb of 2 days by the town takes a walk. Sometimes the lamb's bones are broken, or they die.

In Algemesí (Valencia), is where one of the cruelest festivals happen: People fight and stab young calves with swords for a few months.

The torture of animals is a frequent distraction during popular Spanish festivals.


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What may you do?

* Dejar de asistir a estas fiestas bárbaras.
* Si en tu municipio se organizan este tipo de actividades, participa con alguna asociación para lograr su supresión.
*Averigua cuánto dinero público se destina a estos festejos en tu localidad.

More info

Ficha informativa FAADA Fiestas Populares

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FAADA (Foundation, for the Adoption, Sponsorship and Defence of Animals) is a non profit organisation for the protection of animals.
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