Wednesday 11th July 2012
Spanish bulls gore tourists
Four injured in annual running of the bulls festival
Several tourists have been hurt at the annual running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain.
Two Britons and an American were gored on the third day of this year’s festival.
One of the injured, 38-year-old Aryeh Deutsch, tripped and fell amid a crowd of runners as he ran ahead of one of the black bulls. He saw the bull heading toward him as he lay on the ground.
Deutsch, an American from New Jersey, told the Huffington Post: "The next thing I know I am underneath him. I can see his belly and I was trying to roll out of the way to get under the fence and, yeah, he got me. He got me in the right calf."
After the bull was finished with Deutsch it gored the two British tourists by charging at a group of runners huddled by a fence. Eventually the animal was lured away by cowherds. None of the injuries sustained in this year’s festival so far are thought to be serious.
American tourist Deutsch has participated in 53 bull runs since his first in 2004. He claimed he was planning to run again this year, despite his goring.
"I am moving forward," he said. "It's a beautiful thing watching that herd run. They are like a thunderstorm on those cobblestones. We like to say we are running with our bull brothers."
The annual San Fermin running of the bulls festival sees thousands of thrill-seeking runners speed through the cobbled streets of Pamplona, fleeing from six fighting bulls released in the direction of the city’s bullring. The bulls can weigh more than half a ton.
The morning runs of the seven-day festival are usually the highlight, with the huge street party attracting backpackers and tourists from all over the world to watch the extravaganza. This year’s bull runs will take place daily until Saturday 14 July.
The Pamplona event was made famous around the globe after featuring in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, although bull runs take place in many towns and villages across Spain, as well as in Mexico and southern France.
The origin of the Pamplona festival is not entirely clear, although the purpose derives from the transporting of bulls. When bullfighting grew in popularity in Spain bullrings were built in cities, and the only way to deliver the animals was to ‘run’ them through the streets. Traditionally youngsters would jump among the bulls in a display of bravado.
However, though it is firmly established in Spanish culture, the running of the bulls festival is controversial. At least 15 people have been killed since 1910 by taking part in the event, and thousands more have been injured. The most recent fatality was 27-year-old Daniel Jimeno Romero, who died in 2009.
The festival is also obviously associated with bullfighting, a practice that has been criticised for animal cruelty, with activists claiming the ‘fights’ are, in reality, animals being tortured for entertainment. The sport has declined in popularity in Spain in recent years, although it retains a passionate core following.
Check out this cool headcam video of the 2012 bull run below...
Have you ever been to the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona? Would you like to go? Do you think the festival is too dangerous or cruel to animals?
To learn more about Spanish culture, visit our Spain country page.
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