The “Running of the Bulls” rose out of the growing popularity of bullfighting in western European countries like Spain and Portugal. It’s exact origin remains unknown, possibly due the hundreds of concussions and contusions reported each year since modern record-keeping of these events began in 1924.
To this day, the annual bull run in Pamplona, Spain, and the ensuing bullfights of the San Fermin festival, stand out as one of the world’s most popular. While the run itself lasts a mere 4 minutes, the fighting bulls of Pamplona have prodded their way into the pages of classic literature and onto the big screen. (See the opening scene of City Slickers.)
Due to the innate violence of bullfighting, and the captivating draw of the bull runs that proceed them, protests have increased in recent years. With demonstrations like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ “Running of the Nudes,” each year animal rights activists organize flashy, and often gory displays to relay their messages against bullfighting.
The selections below contain barely-covered activists interspersed with violent bullfighting images from which they derive their inspiration. Be advised that this story may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Annual running of the bulls begins in Spain, one gored
7:31 p.m. EDT, July 7, 2012
PAMPLONA, Spain — A 73-year-old Spanish man was gored in the right leg on the first day of the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona and a 21-year-old Japanese runner was dragged by a bull, authorities said.
Those were two of six runners who were rushed to the hospital after the frenetic race down the narrow cobblestone streets of the old Spanish town. One of the others taken to the hospital was a 26-year-old Australian who suffered a knee injury. The Red Cross also treated 72 others for minor injuries at the scene, authorities said.
The runner from Ikeda, Japan — whose gender was not immediately released — was dragged by what appeared to be a bull’s horn, hooked through clothing, on the pavement downhill toward the bullring, images from Spanish state television showed. The runner suffered back injuries.
There have been 15 deaths since record-keeping began in 1924 and thousands of injuries in the tradition that dates back 400 years.