The bull died during the local “Bulls in the Street” festival.
Spain is known for its bullfighting, but a recently-uploaded video of a bull killing itself during a Spanish festival is horrifying even to those accustomed to the violence of a bullfight.
In the video, shared by Spanish animal rights organization Bulls Defenders United on Sunday, a crowd ties a bull to a post in the middle of a small town square and sets its horns on fire. The crowd then releases the bull from the post, at which point the panicked animal runs head first into the post, hard enough to kill himself.
The Independent reports that the event took place during the “Bulls in the Street” festival — think of it as a smaller version of Pamplona’s “Running of the Bulls” — in the town of Foios, Valencia.
Bullfighting has been a contentious topic in Spain for years. Proponents — many of whom work in high levels of government — say that the event is part of the country’s cultural heritage and thus must be respected.
These voices are a minority — albeit a vocal one. Only 19 percent of Spanish adults support bullfighting, and in recent years many Spanish towns and regions have attempted to ban the practice.
In case after case, however, the national government has blocked each attempt. Just in 2016, the country’s highest court struck down a law passed by the large autonomous region of Catalunya, which would ban bullfighting. This is largely because in 2013, the Spanish Congress granted bullfighting a cultural heritage status, which means it has legal protections which prohibit any regions in Spain from banning the practice locally.
Animal rights activists condemned that decision.
“This move is a cynical attempt by a desperate bullfighting industry to secure the future of this dying industry,” organizations such as PETA, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, wrote. “Bullfighting is cruel and outdated and has no place in a modern society; culture stops where cruelty starts.”