Toro de la Vega bull will be spared, not speared

Castilla y León decides that controversial popular hunt with spears will go ahead, but that animals cannot be killed outside the bullring

Video of the 2006 Toro de la Vega spear hunt in Tordesillas (Valladolid).Video: LUIS SEVILLANO / EL PAÍS

The regional government of Castilla y León has announced it is to ban the killing of bulls during festivities that take place outside a bull ring, among the most famous of which is the Toro de la Vega, a hunt using lances and clubs dating back to the Middle Ages organized by locals from the town of Tordesillas each September.

Spokeswoman Rosa Valderón explained on Thursday that the hunt will go ahead this year as usual, but that the bull will not be speared.

In recent years, opposition to the Toro de la Vega has grown throughout Spain, with animal rights activists from home and abroad traveling to Tordesillas, in the northwestern province of Valladolid to protest.

The Toro de la Vega is promoted as a tourist attraction

Last September, Spain’s Pacma animal rights party organized a march in Madrid that attracted thousands of people to protest the Toro de la Vega, which is promoted as a tourist attraction. A petition with 120,000 signatures was presented to the mayor of Tordesillas calling on the Socialist Party-run local council to end the bull run, which it described as “one of the cruelest festivals.”

Rompesuelas, the bull killed at the Toro de la Vega in 2015, took 20 minutes to die after being speared and clubbed during the hunt. The jury overseeing the event declared the death of the animal “null,” deciding that participants had broken the rules.

 English version by Nick Lyne.

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