There are still some towns in Spain which use animals in local festivities or celebrations. In most cases they are traditions which have been upheld for many years, even though animal suffering is very clear and despite the evident violence involved. It is also of note that these acts are often witnessed by minors. These popular festivals, especially in the case of bullfighting, are backed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and the different regional and municipal authorities.
The different types of bullfighting (bullfights, releasing young bulls, etc.) are the most infamous of the totally out-dated traditions of the Iberian Peninsula which are known around the world. However, it is not only bulls that suffer the consequences of Spanish popular festivals, they also involve birds, horses and other equine animals, rodents, camels and even wild species like elephants.
In some cases the animals are exhibited in front of a noisy crowd and on terrains or surfaces they are not used to. In others they act as a means of transport for long hours and in other cases they are used to prove the strength and manliness of youths. When receiving physical abuse, which often leads to the animal’s premature death, as well as the abuse exerted from bad living conditions, it has been proved that animals suffer. And they suffer exclusively so that people can enjoy themselves at local festivals.
At the state level