If your idea of fun is running with the bulls in Pamplona, you need to rethink your morals

This isn't a test of nerve and resolve. It's a pathetic display of human idiocy and cruelty. And it's the tourists who keep this so-called tradition alive – most people in Spain don't even support bullfighting anymore

Tommy Lee
Thursday 06 July 2017 09:53 BST
Comments
Several 'mozos' or runners are chased by bulls from Miura ranch during the eighth and last bullrun of San Fermin 2016 in Pamplona, northern Spain
Several 'mozos' or runners are chased by bulls from Miura ranch during the eighth and last bullrun of San Fermin 2016 in Pamplona, northern Spain (EPA)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

I'm no stranger to wild behaviour – but there's one thing that even I wouldn't do, and that's running "with" the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. That can f**k right off.

While there may be guts (from the runners who are gored), there certainly isn't any glory in trying to stay a few steps ahead of frightened, confused bulls. In the lead-up to the event, the animals are held in dark enclosures before being forced out – usually with an electric shock prod – into the jeering, drunken crowd.

As they are momentarily blinded by the sunlight and struggle to take in their surroundings, men hit them with sticks and rolled-up newspapers. The panicked animals take off running down the city's slippery cobblestone streets, often losing their footing and slamming into walls – or spectators – in their desperate attempt to flee the chaos.

This isn't a test of nerve and resolve. It's a pathetic display of human idiocy and cruelty.

Bulls gore spectators and matadors after breaking free during bullfight

At the end of the day, each bull is herded into the city's bullring to fight to the death – except that it'll never be a fair contest. From the moment he enters the ring, he has no chance of winning. As many as eight men spear and stab the exhausted animal to weaken him further.

At this point, he sometimes drowns in his own blood, but if not, the matador finally attempts to kill him with a sword. If the matador's bravado ends in failure, an executioner enters the ring to sever the bull's spine with a dagger. This, too, can be botched, leaving him paralysed but still alive as his wounded, bleeding body is dragged out of the arena.

Then another bull enters, and the horrific process starts all over again. It's truly more twisted than anything I could have imagined, even during my wildest days with Mötley Crüe.

Pamplona's Running of the Bulls

And let's be honest: if people paid to watch a man in a sparkly leotard torment and butcher a dog or cat in this way, we wouldn't dare try to excuse it as "tradition" – we'd declare him a sicko, lock him up, and throw away the key.

Fortunately, most people in Spain don't support bullfighting, and many consider it a national disgrace. It's the tourists who keep the bullfights alive and the bulls dying.

By paying money to run with the bulls or attend bullfights – even out of curiosity or by passively going along with events lined up for them in their travel itinerary – they are supporting cruelty. By the time they rush out of the arena in horror, the damage has already been done.

Fortunately, organisations like PETA and other kind people are working to get these cruel, cowardly spectacles banned across Spain – and they have my support. I hope they have yours, too. Because from music to motocross, we have limitless ways to entertain ourselves that don't involve harassing, torturing or killing animals.

Tommy Lee is a writer, television personality, drummer, and cofounder of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. He's an animal rights advocate and a long-time supporter of PETA

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in