In Pamplona, the infamous ‘Running of the Bulls’ is a Spanish tradition that dates all the way back to the 14th Century. As the Spaniards have done each July 14th, the narrow, cobblestone streets of that small village are not only subject to the thundering hooves of charging bulls, but also men 'running for their lives,' matching their speed and wits to out-race them.
Origin of the event . . .
The origin of the event originated with the need to transport cattle from the pastures outside cities Centuries ago, the transportation of cattle became competitive. Sellers used various tactics of fear and excitement. One practice that stood the test of time started with young adults racing in front of the bulls and making it safely to their pens without being overtaken. The annual festival that eventually evolved originally honored the first bishop of Pamplona, St Fermin.
Participants who must be over 18 years old race the bulls over 930-yards. The runs begin on Pamplona’s Santo Domingo Street and finishes at the Plaza de Toros, where the bullring is located.
For some speedy runners, the course only takes a few minutes to complete.
For others . . .
Each year, dozens of bull-runners are injured at the event, often trampled by the bulls. Last year, 12 people, including four Americans, were gored during the run. Since record-keeping started in 1924, 15 people have died by being gored at the festival.
Animal Rights Activists
Of recent date, the festival has been subject to protests from animal advocacy groups, most notably People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA].
These groups claim workers use electric prods and sharp sticks to agitate the bulls before releasing them for the race. They also protested the deaths of the bulls during the inevitable bullfights.
This year, PETA protested in the same square where the ‘running’ took place. Hundreds filled the square with red smoke holding signs in Spanish, English and Arabic with slogans, such as “Stop the Bloody Bullfights,” and “Stop Corridas De Toros," which means stop bullfighting.
So, what do you think readers? Should this 7-Century-old event be stopped or should this tradition continue for centuries to come?
Primary Source: The Running of the Bulls